I found that for the first hour I was having a wonderful time and had lots of things to say. Then it got so loud I felt like I couldn't get a word in anymore, but I discovered the secret to what to do in these situations: I put on an alert, interested expression, and I laughed and made reaction noises in response to other people's stories. That is a crucial role at a party TOO. And leads to far less lying in bed afterward cataloging all the stupid things I've said.
Also, I noticed from someone else's negative example that there is an ENORMOUS difference between doing that and standing there looking at the floor thinking "I guess no one wants to talk to me"/"I guess I'm just no good at parties"/"I guess I don't belong here." In the former, the person is (1) bringing the party down and (2) being an enormous self-centered self-pitying non-contributing baby; in the latter, the person is (1) still completely engaged in the party, just doing a listening role rather than a talking role at that moment. I just read a Maeve Binchy quote where she said there's an old rule that for a successful party you should invite four talkers and four listeners; this party had some bonus talkers, so listeners were much in demand. Plus, it's pretty easy to fake Sparkly Listening even if you're feeling scared or awkward or introverted; it's much harder to fake Sparkly Talking. (Look, party advice from someone who doesn't go to parties!)
I brought RA's husband's Aunt Judy's Chocolate-Chip Cheese Ball, and it was the perfect choice: everyone else brought savory, and at first no one wanted sweet. But when we were done eating chicken-cheese dip and red-pepper-cheese dip and 7-layer-taco dip, everyone was in the mood for sweet. And it wasn't TOO sweet, either, so we didn't feel gross eating too much of it.
Here is the after photo, because I forgot to take a before:
|It's, like, 5/6ths eaten.|
I made one change: instead of just coating the ball in chocolate chips, I also shook out a large quantity into a pool around the cheese ball. The worst thing about foods from the Coated Ball category (this is starting to sound gross) is that the delicious coating gets chipped away and then it's just the plain innards. With chocolate chips also surrounding it, we could take a dip from the plain center and then touch it to the pool of chocolate chips.
Also, do you love the paper plate? I bought a pack of those at Home Goods about a year ago, 8 for $1.99, and at the time I was thinking they'd be exactly right for something, and they WERE. But I could have used a real plate, because most people took their leftovers home with them.
Also, I want to HIGHLY RECOMMEND wiggling your way into a social circle that includes parents of children in your child's grade. Not only did I meet the mother of the girl I think Rob has a crush on (me to her: "Oh my god, I've seen your daughter's name on a whiteboard in our house!!"), I also found out from another mother which girl HER daughter says Rob has a crush on. I felt like I suddenly had SECRET ACCESS.
Also-also-also, I hope people will keep putting appetizers on the appetizer-recipe-collecting post, because the plan is to keep doing these appetizer parties, so I will need to keep going back to that comments section again and again.