With the fast-paced nature of our society, it’s difficult to schedule in time to have friends and family over. Hosting is a lot of responsibility, from cleaning and cooking to entertaining. And friendships get neglected when the pressure of presenting a perfect home and a flawless evening sets in.
If you have children, your likelihood of organizing a dinner party is even less. Juggling their school, programs and activities is hectic enough. Inviting people over is probably the last thing on your mind.
But rather than letting the appearance of your home and your busy life put distance between you and your friends, try this trendy solution — the crappy dinner party. The Kitchn’s Kelley Powell recounted how she found out about this practice and started putting aside her worry of how her friends see her so they could spend more time together.
The basis of the crappy dinner party is from a community where people show up at their friends’ homes without calling or texting. They just stop by, and the person feeds them and catches up without cleaning or worrying.
This growing trend is sweeping through peoples’ homes and altering the nature of friendships. Check out this guide for throwing your own crappy dinner party to prioritize your friendship.
This trend doesn’t require your friends to actually stop by unannounced — because schedules can’t be thrown out the window entirely — so you can pick a day and time with your friend. But when the dinner time approaches, you can’t do a single chore.
You have to let them into your home no matter what state it’s in. If there are dishes piled in the sink or a path of dirty clothes lining your entrance, you can’t touch them. This will probably make you nervous and restless at first, but after a few crappy dinner parties, you’ll be grateful to have a friendship that’s more than surface level.
The next rule is that you can’t go grocery shopping for the dinner because that inserts some planning into the scenario. This means your meal shouldn’t be elaborate or involved. You can grab a box of macaroni from the pantry or warm up leftovers from your fridge, but don’t try a complicated recipe.
Through highs and lows, you and your community of people can have these crappy dinner parties. If someone has an injury or is going through a tough time in life, you can keep the practice going and be present in their life while they hurt. You can accept yourself as you are, and see others in a vulnerable way, too.
Traditional dinner parties may prompt you to put on something fancy, but these dinners require you to stay away from dressy clothing. In the same way that you can’t spruce up your house, you can’t get dolled up when you have people over.
Rock your t-shirt featuring spit up and splotches of glitter glue when your friends arrive. Don’t bother with makeup or your hair, either. Take comfort in the fact that at the next crappy dinner party, you’ll see them in their element, too. You can enjoy the messiness of life and get authentic.
Because this isn’t a formal dinner, your crappy dinner party can’t include hostess gifts. You may want your guests to bring a bottle of wine to help everyone through the evening, but you’ll have to make do with what you already have. And when you’re attending a crappy dinner party, you don’t have to worry about bringing the right gift.
Since you’re not working hard to cook a meal or tidy up, there’s no need for a hostess gift. You’re not bringing anything extra, so your guests shouldn’t either. This creates an effortless, neighborly dynamic and drops any etiquette barrier that stands in the way of your friendship.
The heart of crappy dinner parties is all about dropping in without notice, so this last rule is just for fun. When your guests show up at your door, you can act shocked as if your unprepared for them. Pretend like you had no idea they were stopping by — and get your kids in on it, too.
Even though you’re opening up a lot with this trend, that doesn’t mean you can’t play around and put on a show. This is your chance to practice your surprised face and try your best one out on them once they arrive at your house.
In the midst of a busy culture, this emerging trend can give your friendships renewed strength and deeper roots. You can reduce the stress of simulating a perfect life and allow you to embrace reality. Show how important your close friends are by meeting with them more often despite what you and your house look like.
Share this idea with your friends so you can start having crappy dinner parties together. Get ready to host your first one with plenty of mishaps, laughter and fun.