I’m hosting a New Year’s Eve party and I’m wondering what’s the best way to tactfully deal with uninvited guests?
- Flustered Hostess
This is what I love about this time of year - the strains of kwanzaa folk melodies, sung while we gathered around the hanukkah-menorah-christmas-tree, still linger in the air as we come together to celebrate another digit change on the calendar. The one becomes a two - remarkable. And as the spirit of happy-making flows from one gathering to the other, we must also be alert to the kinds of perils you have raised in your query.
It is clear from your question that you are a considerate individual who worries about making a scene or ruffling some feathers. The most telling sign of your good nature is your use of the oxymoronic label, “uninvited guests”. Already you have conceded that, while these people were not formally invited, you are still willing to grant them, at you own peril, the title of “guest”. But once you have observed the situation through my cultural microcosmic-scope you will know I’m not exaggerating or blowing things out of proportion when I use the word peril.
First, I want you to face yourself in a mirror, look yourself squarely in the eye, and say, “It’s my party, I can bounce who I want to.” Resist the urge to repeat the “I can bounce who I want to” phrase three times. It just makes it sound like you’re whining and are about to cry. You need to keep repeating the whole sentence over and over till you mean it. I always find it helpful to add a Schwarzenegger accent while doing these exercises.
Now that we have toughened your resolve, let’s think about a situation where your inner bouncer might need to spring into decisive action. Imagine your house filled with New Year’s Eve revelers, and across the room you spot them. Your mind is suddenly racing and you have to quickly decide - guest or interloper? Remember, they can’t be both. Like Jason Bourne you mentally go through all the facebook images of your guests that you’ve committed to memory and the face of the person standing in your living room does not appear. You have successfully identified your first party crasher and, regretfully, there is no tactful way to neutralize the threat.
Yes, there are those who would advise the coddling approach: taking the individual aside and kindly asking them to leave, thus allowing the person to quietly slip away and crash another party, or, worse yet, sneak back into yours when you aren’t looking.
Don’t ask me how, but I know exactly what makes these party parasites tick. You have to see them for who they truly are - strangers. We tell our children not to talk to strangers, and you should follow the same advice. Party crashers may seem innocent enough, while they steal your food and make idle chitchat with the real guests, but if confronted they could maliciously spill their Cabernet Sauvignon on your freshly cleaned blanc carpet. (Just for fun, read the last sentence aloud with an exaggerated French accent - go ahead - I’ll wait.) You must understand that these social pariahs are counting on your good nature, which makes it all the more imperative you treat the intruders to some shock and awe.
So, once you’ve identified an invader, don’t assume he/she is the only one. Do a quick analysis of all the “guests” and compile a mental checklist of those you’ve identified as a party home invasion force. Next, notify the police to inform them of the situation and be prepared to add a few embellishments to warrant having a S.W.A.T. unit dispatched to the scene. Finally, you need to quickly mingle among the guests to let them know what is happening so they aren’t totally taken by surprise when members of the tactical assault team come crashing through the doors and windows.
Trust me, you will be grateful for this advice. And, if you respond to the problem early enough in the evening, it is highly likely you will be the breaking news at eleven - “Party Hostages Freed from Terrorist Gunmen.”
Now if it turns out that, by some fluke of human nature, a profile photo or two aren’t exactly an accurate depiction (like that would ever happen), there is no need to worry. I’m sure everyone will have a good laugh about the silly misunderstanding, at least everyone who wasn’t dragged away in handcuffs, and your party will gain even more notoriety. No matter what, it’s a win-win solution.
Happiest of New Years to all, and to all, be Happy!