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Everybody has probably experienced this before: you get an invitation to a party. You walk into an apartment or house you’ve never been to before. It’s mysterious. The house, the lighting, the furniture — everything is foreign. There are five or six friends and strangers gathered around a nice wooden table politely talking, eating pizza, possibly playing Jenga. As you sit down, you start to wonder, “Why am I falling asleep?”It’s because the party is lame. Everyone there is lame. And now you’re lame by association.

Partying has evolved along with humanity. Think of all the legendary parties in history: the cavemen discovering fire, the patriots pouring tea at the Boston Tea Party and Andrew Jackson burning down the White House (twice). Let’s bring that excitement to every celebration. Attend every party as if it were the last one on Earth; get loud, get weird, and most of all, have fun. Follow the steps below to throw the ultimate party of this millennium, and don’t forget the chips and dip.

1.Curate your guest list – The number of people you invite depends on the location of your party. If you have few friends, but a lot of space, consider casting a wider net to gather a large swathe of co-workers and cousins you enjoy hanging out with. Have a small space but a large number of guests? Parties with a lot of people in a tight space can be fun, but do you really want Jim, your Principles of Accounting classmate, to knock over that priceless vase you made in ceramics last semester? It’s okay to shave off a couple of people from the list to fit the needs of your area, as late arrivers and plus ones often happen. Jim will eventually understand.

2.Inviting people – Modern technology has made planning and attending parties easier than ever, yet we are still a generation of flakers. The way you invite someone to your party should make them feel welcome, while also adding pressure on them to come. Invitations are a nice, personal way of getting the word out, but snail mail is the worst — no one wants an invitation to be associated with their electricity bill. Facebook events offer an easy way to invite a large number of people to an upcoming gathering, but the downside of Facebook is that word can spread like wildfire and make your casual get-together the next Project X. And don’t forget how annoying group messaging is; no one needs or wants their phone going off eight times a minute. A personal text message to each individual person you want to invite will make them feel more inclined to show up. This can be time-consuming, which is why you’re going to do it a few weeks in advance. Last-minute invitations are the worst.

3.Setup the space – The surroundings will be the first thing someone sees when they enter your place. Make it worth staying while also thinking of max comfort for everyone that comes. Food and drinks should be on a bar or table opposite of the entrance to prevent blockage. Dim the lights if possible or use lamps, strobe lights or spotlights to make an intimate but welcome setting. Benches, couches, coffee tables and coolers have something in common at a party: they are all potential seating for your guests. Remember to put all the expensive or delicate items and furniture in a garage, closet or drawer. You paid a lot for that glass IKEA table, so why risk having someone reenact the final Crane Kick from “The Karate Kid”on it? The same goes for jewelry or art. Stolen belongings are a big party pooper.

4.The party playlist – There is no party without music, as it sets the mood for the rest of the night. In other words, it’s the most important thing you will be in control of all night. The transition from a Waka Flocka Flame to a Wilco song can make the raddest party turn into a funeral in seconds. Your playlist is yours to control, but be aware that your guests came to have a good time — not to hear your Brian Eno mega-mix. Keep it current but open to throwbacks. I’ve seen just as many people hit the dance floor to Led Zeppelin as they have to the newest Justin Timberlake track. Also, play Ginuwine’s “Pony,”because it’s always a hit.

5.Be. The. Party. – Having fun is contagious — especially when it’s authentic. It’s the best feeling in the world when people feed off of your positive vibe. People won’t be able to resist staying if everyone is having a good time. Mingle as much as possible, but also trust that wallflowers will find others of their own species. Introduce your college friends to old high school acquaintances or your cousin to your best friend. Save the small clean-ups for the morning; party-goers can smell your stress when you try to tidy the living room during an intense game of beer pong. Just remember to trust your party throwing skills — dance, drink and be merry. Others will naturally follow.

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