10. Nobody comes
You’ve done such a good job of downplaying how important your little gathering is that there is a good chance people might actually believe what you said about dropping by at any time. Or worse, they may not come at all, leaving you with enough breadsticks and dip to build a replica West Bay and a very awkward silence with neighbours who clearly think they’ve been lured into a trap.
9. Too many people come
Just as terrifying (although for very different reasons) is the thought that word will spread and you could soon be looking at a home full of strangers. Fail to correctly set the privacy settings on your Facebook invitation and it could go viral faster than you could say #gatecrash.
8. My friends all hate each other
You love them all. But for such different reasons. A dawning realisation will hit you hard moments before people start to arrive. Acquaintances from back home, work, the gym and that weird guy who just hangs around by the pool are all pleasant enough, but there is a good reason they’ve never been allowed to meet before. This could be explosive and it will all be your fault.
7. Nobody praises my tapenade
You could have gone to a restaurant, paid for catering or bought ready-made from the supermarket, but you didn’t, and have been slaving in the kitchen since dawn. So if nobody asks if this olive paste is your own, you’re within your rights to start poking people in the face with a baguette.
6. Nobody follows my theme
You did say fancy dress. You are not imagining this. But the fact remains that a room full of people wearing jeans and designer T-shirts are chatting away, trying not to make eye contact with you and your partner who are bravely handing out Pringles while dressed in Game of Thrones costumes.
5. My spoons don’t match
It feels very grown-up hosting a dinner party, and at the back of your mind and the forefront of the evening’s conversations are memories of the wilder nights of your youth. Your relative sophistication and maturity will be brought back down to Earth with a smash when you discover you don’t have enough “posh glasses” to go round and two people are left drinking from a tumbler while you’re sipping out of a mug.
4. My house gets trashed
As a host you are expected not to have a screaming hissy fit at your guests. It is considered impolite. But the smokers on the balcony are getting closer to the doors, you’ve already seen people fiddling with your hard-fought air-conditioning settings, the Tibetan statue you picked up on holiday has been dropped on its head and you’ve heard reports that the lock on the bathroom door has broken. If people don’t start using the coasters you put out soon, more heads will roll.
3. People won’t leave
You’ve been yawning and glancing at your watch since long before the last candle fizzled out, but they’re just not getting the message…
2. I don’t have any fun
Peals of laughter reach your ears and the plates being cleared from the table look satisfyingly empty. People are enjoying themselves and the food seems to have gone down a storm (nobody noticed you put sugar instead of salt on your risotto balls after all). But you missed it because you’ve spent the entire evening literally fighting fires in the kitchen and comfort eating mayonnaise directly from the jar while eyeing a mountain of washing up growing steadily higher.
1. I need new friends
When you planned this night it was with visions of witty conversation, passionate exchanges of opinion and the sort of debates more interesting people on television have. So it’s with a sense of crushing disappointment that you watch as a steady chant of encouragement breaks out when one guest is challenged to put an entire bowl of olives in their mouth in one go.
Will Milner is a regular contributor. He is an excellent dinner guest.