Do You Always Play a Certain "Role" at Parties/social Events?

Updated on July 16, 2012
J.B. asks from Boston, MA
8 answers

Just wondering if others do the same thing that I do. I find that when I go to parties or "get togethers" I usually jump in and help out - it's as automatic as breathing. For my own family, this is an obvious expectation (although one of my sisters and my brother are perpetual guests, even at events when they're supposed to help). But I even do it at other people's parties. For example, last week I went to a party a friend was hosting for her grandson's first birthday. I got there a little early and it was pretty clear that she was behind schedule, so I jumped in and delegated some stuff to her grown sons and their girlfriends/wives who were just standing there chatting, ran to the store for ice and more forks, set up things outside and started running appetizers out to the rest of the guests, etc. It was fun and I was glad to be able to help her. Today we celebrated by FIL's 70th birthday and because my MIL was the host and my FIL was the guest of honor, my husband and I expected to help and we got there early (it was at a destination), met the caterer, set up the tables, put out the food and just kept and eye on things so that my ILs could mingle and not worry about whether or not we needed more plates or crackers. My BIL and his fiancee showed up with the rest of the guests so it wasn't like the "kids" helping was planned in advance but I was kind of surprised the it didn't seem to even occur to my BIL to get there early or pitch in. Honestly I can't remember the last party that I went to where I didn't do something and jump in and help the host, which is probably a little odd.

So am I the only lunatic who does this or am I in good company? When you go to a party for family or a close friend, do you have a role? I have some other friends and family who automatically take on roles of being the music person, or mixing drinks, or organizing an activity for kids, or looking after the older folks to make sure they're in the shade and hydrated and fed, or who just are good at mixing and mingling and getting people to talk. If you're one of those, how did you fall into that pattern? I think I got into mine because we hosted a lot of parties when I was a kid (I'm one of 5) and I worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years.

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answers from Cleveland on

sally gave my answer.

Thinking about this, My Sil is you and she some how always knows what drawer the extra forks are in and knows that the host is short on napkins before the host does and has run out to get them and gotten back and folded them into swans before anyone else even realizes it. so when she is in her Helping mode, I need to just stand back.

I like to be the group candid photographer if i can. I like that role.

also we never entertained growing up so i guess i didn't get much practice.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

I usually offer to help, but the only time I can get in the kitchen is during clean up. I've found that sometimes, too many people trying to help makes a lot of chaos. It depends on the host and how organized they are. Sounds like your help is welcomed.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

For MOST parties that my fiance and I attend we are the ones at the end of the night talking with the couple that got into a large public fight at the event. We are the "emotional clean up crew." Other than that, I am the jack of all trades - I can cook (typical for a family party on my side), I can help entertain, socialize etc. So, there is no one job that I fit into, I think it depends on the grouping/event. Heck, even after my BIL's wedding we were there until 2am smoothing things over with the newlyweds! Mostly we listen and let them vent - and try not to be involved other than repeating things they have already said and nodding along.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Wow, I would love to have you to my house . . . you sound like an angel!

My role is Chatty Kathy. :P

I'm going to try and make sure I help out more, too, at family gatherngs. When they're not at my house I tend to not do as much. But on the flip side, when they're at my house I tend to do much of the work.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Sounds like you are a wonderful helper. I try to help at some party and I also let the close family/friends help at other parties so I do not get in the way. My MIL would complain about certain relatives taking over her event then would turn and complain about others who would not lift a finger. There is a fine line with some people (and their parties). It is important to not make them feel like a failure. I think it is awesome that you have friends/family that take on certain roles (drink mixer and music person).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Most family events occur at my parents and my 5 sisters and I seem to have it completely figured out as to what we are going to do. My brothers and my one sister don't help at all. Before I had kids, I was the late stayer, so I would come later and help clean up. Now that I have a 3 year old and 5 month old twins, I come early, help set up and leave early. We have it decided who comes early and who stays late. As for during the event, we clean up as we see it. We have such a system, that we don't want anyone else to help, they make it worse. When I do go to friends houses, I always offer to help. With my group of friends they always put me to work. As for when I host, I don't like help. I'm a control freak and would prefer to do it myself.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I'm like you I jump in and start helping or will load and run the dishwasher. Then I try to engage the wallflowers try to get them to participate and introduce them to the others. Then when everyone else is leaving I run around and help pick-up, unload and load dishwasher and run again. Wipe down the table(s) take down folding tables, chairs, gather up the garbage ect. When order has been restored I thank the host/hostess for inviting me and go home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There are givers and takers in this world. You will always be a "giver" , someone who just naturally thinks of others. It will never change and neither will your BIL and his fiance. It's not something you can teach. Just a natural gift you have !!!

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