Tag Archives: Friends

How to Get Your Friends and Family Interested In Tabletop Board Games

How to Get Your Friends and Family Interested In Tabletop Board Games

For the uninitiated, the world of board games might seem over-complicated, boring, or only for kids. You may know better, but if getting regulars to come to game night is a hassle for you, all you need is some clever ways to bring your friends and family into the fold and show them that just isn’t true.

Know Your Group and Get the Right Mix of Players

Make sure you know the people you want to play with well. If you can tap into their existing interests and passions, you’ll both have a better time. Don’t force a game because you really want to play it. Focus on making the event fun for everyone else. Ask yourself, will certain themes make them lose interest? Are they competitive or are they more passive? What kinds of games have they played before? A game like Arkham Horror may not be interesting to your friends if they don’t like supernatural settings, prefer games that are competitive over cooperative, and haven’t played character-focused games before.

A large group of people with conflicting interests is more difficult to wrangle as well, so start small and focus on a few friends or family members that you want to convert. If you have a friend or two that are already into board games, it’s not a bad idea to invite them along to play too. Having other interested people around will make it easier to set things up, explain rules, and maintain a good energy level.

Keep in mind, however, that not everyone will be interested in becoming a tabletop gamer. Some may refuse to try outright, and others will give it a shot and decide it’s not for them. That’s okay! You can’t force someone to like something. Focus on the people that do show some interest and play with them. Who knows? Over time your straggling friends and family might decide to give it a shot when they hear about how much fun everyone else is having.

Get Them Hooked With “Gateway Games”

You don’t want to make your friends and family dive head-first into a super deep game like Twilight Imperium, but you also want to show them a game that’s more fun than Monopoly. That’s where “gateway games” come in. Like a cheesy weed dealer in a 90s anti-drug ad, you need to peddle games to your inner circle that aren’t too intense, but are interesting enough that they’ll be hooked for life. You want games that show them a good time, and may even make them want to try something a little heavier next time.

There are a few keys to picking a solid gateway game:

  • It’s easy to learn: A gateway game should be something almost anyone can learn enough to start playing in 10 to 15 minutes (or a few rounds of play). These games will verge on the line of instant gratification “party games,” but it’s best if they have some kind of game mechanic that can be found in other, more complicated games. That way, when you suggest a more advanced game down the line, you can say, “It’s easy to learn too, it’s a lot like [insert gateway game they’ve played here].”
  • It’s fun to play the first time: This is an absolute must. Some games are “easy to learn, hard to master,” but that’s not always ideal for a gateway game if it means nobody enjoys it the first few times they play it. The first session with the game needs to be fun, exciting, and encouraging.
  • It fits the occasion and mood: Depending on who you have around, some gateway games are better than others. A large group of people that are feeling social, for example, may not be the best group for a game that requires a lot of silence and focus. In the same vein, a small group of people isn’t ideal for a game you know is more fun with ten or more players. Remember, the goal is to get them interested in board games in general, not just to play one specific game with you. If you get them hooked, you’ll be able to play more games down the line.

When choosing a gateway game, it’s also a good idea to keep your audience’s likes in mind. As the Cardboard Crusader blog explains, look for tangential theme relations. What are your friends and family into? If they like art, show them a game that’s heavily influenced by art interpretation like Dixit. If they dig scary supernatural stuff, have them play a game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf. If they’re into sci-fi, maybe a game of Star Fluxx. Or, if they are wannabe comedians, a game of Cards Against Humanity almost always ends in laughs. Here are some more examples of decent gateway games:

There are plenty more, but this list should give you a good place to start. Feel free to mention your preferred gateway game in the comments.

Make Your First Game Session a Dedicated Event

When you ask your buddies or family members to play a game with you, make an event out it. Asking them if they want to “come over and play some board games sometime” won’t pique their interest if they aren’t already interested in playing board games. You need lay out a plan to sell it a little.

Approach it the same way you would approach asking someone out on a date: with a specific time, place, and suggestion for what you’ll be doing. It should be a dedicated event, rather than a random party or hangout. Think of a few people you might want to invite, choose a game based on their interests, then invite them. If you have some friends that are into horror movies, for example, you might say “Hey, I just got this awesome game called Betrayal at House on the Hill. It looks kind of spooky. You guys want to come over to my apartment and play it Thursday night?”

http://lifehacker.com/the-dos-and-do…

If your friends still seem a little unsure, Zach Hillegas at Board Game Resource suggests you make the game just part of a day or night with more plans. Maybe you suggest watching a scary movie after playing Betrayal at House on the Hill as well, or suggest playing a game to relax after a long hike. If you surround the game with things your friends like, they’ll be more inclined to give it a try.

Bribe Them With Drinks and Snacks

Speaking of surrounding games with things people like, you can always bribe them with food and drink. Offer to make your friends or family dinner, or tell them you’ll be ordering a few pizzas. If you have a dish you know your friends love, now is the time to wield its power. Whip up that fancy dip, roll up some bacon-wrapped avocado, and cook some of your famous crab cakes.

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Alcohol is a great way to bribe people into playing as well, and it can even make people feel more comfortable getting into a game if they don’t normally indulge in such things. You can even make some board games into drinking games if you think that will encourage people to play. That said, alcohol also has the potential derail a game. You may have friends who don’t drink, for example, who otherwise would love to play. For some people, alcohol means party time, and they won’t want to focus on learning rules or paying attention. So keep that in mind while you plan out your game nights.

Remove as Many Distractions as Possible

Board games require a certain level of focus and investment to fully enjoy. That means the simplest distractions, like phones, TV, music, and even normal socializing, are your greatest enemy when you’re trying to convert people into tabletop gamers. You need to keep distractions to a minimum, but also keep the game moving so they don’t find themselves wanting to be distracted.

Ask everyone to put away their cell phones, keep the TV off, and if you want to play music, make it something ambient that won’t accidentally convert your game session into a party. If you’re going to eat dinner, eat before you start playing. Let everyone socialize while they eat, so come game time, they’ll be ready to learn and play. Snacks are okay at the table, however, as long they aren’t too messy (you don’t want to ruin your game).

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-level-u…

Most importantly, have the game set up before people arrive or finish eating dinner. It can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes to set up a game, and that time is crucial. If you wait to set up when everyone is ready to play, that’s 15 minutes where people have nothing to do and might lose interest, think of other things they’d rather do, or even start doing something else. The last thing you want is to spend 15 minutes setting up a game and then find out everyone is in the living room watching a movie instead.

Know the Rules Inside Out, Be Enthusiastic, and Make It About Them

Going over a game’s rules for too long kills the mood as well. Nobody wants to spend an hour going over rules for a game that plays for 45 minutes. It’s critical to know the game you’ll be playing inside and out. You need to know the rules well enough that you can teach them how to play on the fly and answer any questions they might have. Don’t get frustrated if you have to repeat rules, and be patient. Even a fun game will be ruined by an angry facilitator. If you can keep things flowing and relaxed, they’re guaranteed to have more fun and want to play again. It helps to be enthusiastic about it as well. If your friends or family see how excited you are about a game, that will encourage them to push past the learning part so they can experience the fun themselves.

Also, make the game about them. Games can be intense and competitive, but the first couple sessions isn’t the time to focus on that. Your friends won’t have fun if you’re kicking their butts while they’re trying to learn the rules. You don’t have to let them win, just focus on having an overall atmosphere of fun. If that means occasionally fudging the rules, or creating fun new “house rules,” so be it. Remember, you’re trying to sell board games as something that people of all walks of life can have a lot of fun with.

http://lifehacker.com/build-a-high-e…

Take Them to a Board Game Cafe or Game Store

If you have a board game cafe near you, invite a few friends to check it out with you. Board game cafes offer food, beverages (like a coffee house), and a ton of games to play for only a few bucks admission. Local game stores usually have games running every night that you can watch or even jump in on. Some stores will also have a collection of games that are available for anyone to play.

You can let your friends pick a game that looks interesting to them, and learn how to play it in an environment filled with other people having a great time doing the same thing. If you don’t have a bunch of your own games, this is a great way to test the waters with someone and see what kind of games they might be interested in playing.

Illustration by Sam Woolley.


Create Incentive to Keep a Tidier Home by Inviting People Over More Often

Create Incentive to Keep a Tidier Home by Inviting People Over More Often

If nobody ever sees your home, there’s not as much incentive to keep it clean. If you need to a way to jump-start a good cleaning habit, you can force yourself to tidy up by asking people to come over regularly.

If you want to get better at keeping your place clean, Stephanie Georgopulos at MEL Magazine suggests you start inviting people over to your humble abode more often. Organize movie nights, host dinners, offer your home up as a place to crash for traveling friends and family, and make your place the pre-game spot before a night of hitting the town. When you know people will be sitting in your living room, using your bathroom, and mixing drinks in the kitchen, you’ll feel a little more inclined to keep things at a respectable level of cleanliness. Not to mention that people will love you for always being willing to host. Plus, as Georgopulos explains, having people over gives you an opportunity to clean before they arrive and after they leave. Developing new habits is all about repetition, so start sending out those invites.

How to Clean Your Home for Maximum Social Acceptability (and Minimal Effort) | MEL Magazine

Photo by William J Sisti.

Break Out of Your Social Shell by Piggybacking on a More Sociable Friend

Break Out of Your Social Shell by Piggybacking on a More Sociable Friend

If you’re making an effort to be more comfortable in social situations, latching on to a social butterfly buddy can help ease you into more social exposure.

Getting better at meeting people is tough, especially when you’re trying your hardest to seem interesting. While breaking out of your shell may seem daunting at first, Ankit Sethi at Quora suggests certain friends can make the process easier and more comfortable:

Find somebody to piggyback on. I have found that a good way to increase my social exposure is to make a few, close friendships with people who are inherently much more gregarious than I am. I accompany them to social events, they help to introduce me to new people and thereby give me a social “starting line of credit” with these folks, because by virtue of association with the gregarious friend I don’t have to start from scratch with them – I already have an implicit endorsement, of sorts.

Not only will they start you off in conversations with a “good line of credit,” they’ll handle most of the small talk that can often lead to awkward moments. You’ll be able to chime in when you have something interesting to say, but can keep to yourself when you don’t. Your friend doesn’t have to be the life of the party either. Just someone who knows their way around a crowd.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-be-more…

Ankit Sethi’s answer to “What are some of the best ways to improve social skills?” | Quora via Business Insider

Photo by Link Humans.

Meetbug Makes It Easy to Find a Time and Place to Catch Up with Friends

Web: Services that promise to make scheduling get-togethers easy are a dime a dozen, but Meetbug makes the whole affair so easy you won’t feel like you’re struggling to find the right time—you’ll just enjoy looking forward to spending time with your friends again.

Meetbug starts you off with a simple screen to create your event. Type in what you want to do, like “meet for coffee,” and the service will suggest a few headlines, like “Let’s meet for coffee!” or “Let’s catch up over coffee,” just to spice up your invitation. Use the calendar to add some dates, then the sliders on the left to propose specific times on those dates. Once you’re done, save your invite—this is where the service asks you to sign up for an account to save your invite and send it out to other people. Each invite gets a unique link, so you can email it to your friends (who’ll have to sign up to vote on dates and times and add their own suggestions, so keep that in mind.)

Once your friends click the link, that’s where the service really shines. They can just give you their vote on dates and times, suggest locations, or hop into the chat that Meetbug creates for your event and talk to you live, offering feedback and alternative dates, times, or locations. If all of you join at once, you can all chat together, or everyone can leave messages you can check later.

The service is completely free, and surprisingly fun to use. It’d be nice if Meetbug hooked into Google Calendar or Facebook events, but that’s probably the next step. Even so, right now it’s useful. Give it a try at the link below.

Meetbug

Be More Charismatic by Treating New Friends Like Old Ones

Be More Charismatic by Treating New Friends Like Old Ones

Hitting it off with new people can be quite a challenge for some of us. When you don’t know someone, there’s a barrier of awkwardness between you. Charismatic people are able to break that barrier. One shortcut for doing this is to think of someone new you meet as an old friend.

Like a lot of people, I get all kinds of nervous in social situations, especially when I’m chatting with someone new at a party or networking event. It’s hard to talk to people you don’t know. To get past this, try to imagine you do know them, suggests Leil Lowndes, author of How To Talk To Anyone. Time reports:

When you first meet someone, imagine they’re your old friend. According to Lowndes, this will cause a lot of subconscious reactions in your body, from the softening of your eyebrows to the positioning of your toes. And added benefits of this technique is that when you act as though you like someone it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy you might really start to like them. Lowndes says, “What it boils down to is love begets love, like begets like, respect begets respect.”

Like most social shortcuts, it sounds a bit silly at first, but it’s just a mental trick to relax so you’re a little more open and approachable. However, your mileage is definitely going to vary with this one, so use this tip according to your own discretion. If you’re loud and bawdy with your friends, you probably want to leave that out when you’re chatting up a potential employer at a job fair, for example.

http://lifehacker.com/5989897/instan…

It’s a decent tip for calming your nerves and making small talk a little less awkward. Check out the rest at the link below.

Photo by HND.

7 Body Language Tricks to Make People Like You | TIME

Be More Charismatic by Treating New Friends Like Old Ones

Be More Charismatic by Treating New Friends Like Old Ones

Hitting it off with new people can be quite a challenge for some of us. When you don’t know someone, there’s a barrier of awkwardness between you. Charismatic people are able to break that barrier. One shortcut for doing this is to think of someone new you meet as an old friend.

Like a lot of people, I get all kinds of nervous in social situations, especially when I’m chatting with someone new at a party or networking event. It’s hard to talk to people you don’t know. To get past this, try to imagine you do know them, suggests Leil Lowndes, author of How To Talk To Anyone. Time reports:

When you first meet someone, imagine they’re your old friend. According to Lowndes, this will cause a lot of subconscious reactions in your body, from the softening of your eyebrows to the positioning of your toes. And added benefits of this technique is that when you act as though you like someone it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy you might really start to like them. Lowndes says, “What it boils down to is love begets love, like begets like, respect begets respect.”

Like most social shortcuts, it sounds a bit silly at first, but it’s just a mental trick to relax so you’re a little more open and approachable. However, your mileage is definitely going to vary with this one, so use this tip according to your own discretion. If you’re loud and bawdy with your friends, you probably want to leave that out when you’re chatting up a potential employer at a job fair, for example.

http://lifehacker.com/5989897/instan…

It’s a decent tip for calming your nerves and making small talk a little less awkward. Check out the rest at the link below.

Photo by HND.

7 Body Language Tricks to Make People Like You | TIME

What to Do When Your Friends Make Way More Money Than You Do (Or Vice Versa)

What to Do When Your Friends Make Way More Money Than You Do (Or Vice Versa)

We like to think our friendships are strong enough to handle something as silly as financial differences. But the truth is, money can make things awkward, especially when one of you earns significantly less (or more) than the other. Here’s how to handle the most common issues that can arise.

Find Common Ground With Activities

Your friend wants to go to concerts and movies all the time, and you can’t afford it. This is probably the most common issue when there’s a wealth gap in your friendship: the cost of doing stuff. In fact, there’s a even a Friends episode dedicated to this problem! On the show, Monica gets fired and everyone forgets about the issue. Hopefully you fare better.

Communication is a better solution. Your friend might not realize just how pricey those activities are, so if they don’t know you’re on a budget, they’re probably going to keep suggesting them.

There’s really nothing wrong with flat out saying, “I can’t afford it, sorry.” Although, some people avoid this because it sounds like an excuse, especially if you’re not open about money with your friend.

http://lifehacker.com/the-truth-abou…

If you’re looking for another way to address the issue, here are a few scripts to get you started:

  • Try “We’re saving our pennies for [current savings goal],” as suggested by a You Need a Budget user.
  • Suggest a frugal alternative: “Le Cigare Volant is really pricey, and I’m on a budget. Do you mind if we meet for happy hour at The Counter instead?”
  • If it’s a big activity, like a vacation, money psychologist Brad Klontz recommends starting the conversation on a positive note, by letting your friend know how much he or she means to you. Then, try something like: “My major financial goal right now is to save up to buy a house. That means I need to cut back on my spending. This vacation isn’t in my budget.”

Assuming you’ve tried the above and this is still an issue, here are a few additional tips:

  • Pay yourself first: Sometimes it’s not as easy as saying no. When your friend wants to go to an expensive concert, you’re probably tempted to go, too! You can eliminate temptations like this buy using a zero-sum budget, which basically means you save your money before doing anything else with it. This way, even if you do go to the concert, you’ve already saved for your financial goals, so you’re good. Or, you can tell your friend you can’t afford to go, because it’s literally not in your budget. Either way, you’ve put your finances first.
  • Discuss your goals: It might help to let your friend in on your financial goals. If you have a solid friendship, chances are they’re happy to support your efforts, and they might also think twice about expensive activities.
  • Do stuff, but spend less: If your friend can’t part with his or her expensive habits, consider creative workarounds. For example, money writer Shannon McNay told Forbes that when her friends would make plans to go out to eat, she’d make dinner at home, and then just order dessert at the restaurant.

If these outings catch you by surprise, you might consider working them into your budget. Obviously, you shouldn’t spend money you don’t have, but setting aside a certain amount helps you prepare for occasional outings so you can budget accordingly.

http://twocents.lifehacker.com/how-can-i-be-f…

For example, my significant other and I have friends that really enjoy going out to eat. We love doing that with them, but for a long time, hanging out with them meant destroying our budget. To fix this, we split our “dining out” budget into two different categories: regular restaurant spending and “social spending.” Basically, we cut back on our own restaurant habit so we could have more money to go out with our friends. In fact, now, we pretty much only go out to eat when our friends are involved.

Ideally, though, you should be able to communicate with friends about your budget, so these other options aren’t necessarily a replacement for that. They’re just additional fixes for finding a happy medium.

If You’re the Higher Earner

If you want to spend time with a friend on a budget, you have to be considerate of their finances. You can suggest frugal alternatives, like:

  • Happy hour instead of dinner at your favorite restaurant
  • A potluck birthday party instead of a party at an upscale venue
  • A local, weekend getaway instead of a pricey, weeklong vacation

If you really want to try a new restaurant, and you’re intent on going with your friend, you may offer to treat them. Here’s what Richie Frieman of Quick and Dirty Tips suggests:

Simply say, “We enjoy hanging out and I want to treat you XYZ today.” You should by no means expect them to reciprocate, since you are doing this out of the kindness of your heart.

If they push back, offer a way for them to pitch in:

“I told you this was my treat, but hey, pay for parking and buy me a beer, and we’ll call it even.”

This way, they’re still pitching in a little, but hopefully not in a way that will wreck their budget. Of course, doing this too often can be problematic, too. Your friend might feel like it’s charity. Or, they may even start assuming you’ll pay for everything, and that’s a whole new conversation, in which you’ll have to politely tell them you can’t budget for their spending.

Overall, it’s just about being understanding toward a friend’s situation. It’s okay to offer to treat every now and then, but suggesting cheaper alternatives shows a little more empathy.

If You’re Going to Borrow Money, Set Some Ground Rules

Few things make a friendship more awkward than borrowing money. In general, it’s probably best to follow this rule of thumb: don’t do it.

But if you’re going to borrow money anyway, at least heed this advice:

  • Make a concrete deadline: This is generally up to the lender to do, but as the borrower, you want to watch out for yourself, too. You might tell your friend you’ll pay the money back when you can, and they brush it off as no big deal, but perhaps they expected to be paid back much sooner than you’re able to make that happen. Setting a concrete deadline eliminates a lot of confusion down the line.
  • Draw up a contract: It sounds like it’d make things even more awkward, but having a contract can actually take a lot of the pressure off of the situation. Both parties know what to expect when there are set rules for payback established.
  • Pay interest: Again, this sounds pretty cold, but if you’re going to ask to borrow money, Business Insider suggests it’s polite to at least offer to pay interest, even if it’s a small amount.

If You’re the Higher Earner
It might be tempting to give in when a friend asks or hints to borrow money from you. If you do, follow the other golden rule when it comes to lending money to a friend or close family member: don’t expect to get it back.

Make sure you’re comfortable with that before saying yes. Or, maybe there’s something they can offer in exchange. Maybe they’ve got awesome photography skills and you need a few photos for your website. Tell them you’re happy to give them some cash if they can help you out with that. Of course, working together can cause a whole mess of problems, too. So you might want to prepare for that and not expect too much out of the situation.

http://lifehacker.com/5743698/expect…

And if you say no, you shouldn’t have to explain yourself; politely declining should be enough. But if you feel obligated to give them a reason, here’s what clinical psychologist Dr. Daniela Schreier tells MoneyUnder30:

If you feel you should, explain that you have rent, or a mortgage, or a family. It’s certainly understandable in this economy that people can’t throw money around.

You can offer to support them in other ways, too. If they need a job, perhaps you could look over their resume. If they’re having trouble paying back a student loan, maybe you could help them research info about their options.

Nip Unsolicited Advice In the Bud

Money can be a touchy topic in friendships, especially when there’s a wage gap between friends. For example, if one friend feels like the other isn’t managing money correctly, that friend might feel inclined to give advice. And that can be annoying.

If your friend is giving you unsolicited money advice, Real Simple’s Catherine Newman suggests being direct by politely saying:

Thank you for trying to help me, but I might have given the wrong impression. I’m not actually looking for advice.

She adds that you might also consider how you’re conversing with them. Maybe they’re just trying to connect, because you vent about your financial situation with them quite a bit. People often respond to venting by offering a solution, and they might not realize that you just need to let off some steam.

If You’re the Higher Earner

Maybe your friend’s money situation is so out of control, you feel it’s your duty to help them out. Money writer Janine Eccleston suggests you try not to completely call them out. Instead, discuss a situation related to the one they’re in, but don’t directly point out that they’re wrong or making mistakes, because that can make people defensive.

Can’t Afford an Expensive Wedding? Be Upfront ASAP

A lot of couples go all out for their wedding, which often means the wedding party has to spend a lot, too. Even if you’re not in the wedding party, you might have to fork over some major cash—what if the wedding is in Hawaii and you just can’t swing it?

http://lifehacker.com/10-things-i-wi…

The best answer is really the most obvious one: just be honest. If you need some sample dialogue, here’s what writer Antonia Massa suggests:

“I know you’re working hard to plan this wedding, and I wish I could be there with you. But this year has been tough for me financially, and I don’t think I can swing this. I hope you’ll understand.”

That said, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Let them know as soon as possible: It’s tough planning a wedding. If you’re asked to be in the party and you know you can’t pull it off, you should tell the bride or groom as soon as you can, so they can plan accordingly.
  • Don’t blame their choices: As Massa points out, you don’t want to say something like, “If you weren’t having the wedding in Aruba, I could go. But unfortunately…”
  • Offer something else: If you can’t make it, let them know what you can offer as a friend. Maybe it’s help with planning. Maybe it’s dinner after the honeymoon. Whatever the scenario, this lets them know you still want to celebrate. When I couldn’t make it to a friend’s wedding recently, I offered to help edit her wedding video, for example.

If your friend has specifically asked you to be in the wedding party or attend a bachelor/bachelorette party and you can’t afford it, make sure to let them know how much it means to you that they asked, and again, offer to help celebrate in ways that are more financially realistic for you.

If You’re the Higher Earner

It’s your wedding day, but you want your friends to be a part of it, too. And if a friend earns significantly less than you do, you may want to take that into consideration when budgeting for the day. Beyond that option, event site Gathering Guide suggests offering to buy some stuff yourself.

For example, if it’s your dream to have a bachelorette party in Cabo, and your bridesmaid can’t afford it, consider paying for her flight yourself if you’re not willing to go with a cheaper alternative. The site adds that it’s also courteous to tell people in your wedding party how much they can expect to spend, total, on supplies and activities. And A Practical Wedding suggests offering guests two or three options for hotels (budget, mid-range, or luxury), with prices varying by at least $50.


Money can cause problems in even the tightest of friendships. The good news is: basic communication, openness, and empathy can make all the difference. And in solid friendships, those are skills you learn to develop anyway.

Throw More Interesting Parties by Asking Guests to Invite Someone New

Throw More Interesting Parties by Asking Guests to Invite Someone New

Whether you’re hosting a full-on dinner party or just a small gathering for cocktails, adding some fresh faces to the mix will liven things up.

Spending time with your regular group of friends is fine and dandy, but sometimes you want to get some fresh blood into the mix. After all, learning about new people can be a lot of fun. That’s why Taylor Rondestvedt at Food52 suggests a tip he found in an old 1960s party hosting book:

Invite two good friends and have each of them bring someone no one else in the party knows. That way, you still have a small group but you’re able to meet new people!

The key here is to explicitly ask that they only bring new people no one has met. This isn’t just a plus one! Everyone will have someone new to meet, guaranteed, and you might even make some great new friends in the process. If you’re concerned about riff-raff ruining your party, only extend this type of “bring someone new” invitation to your closer friends you trust.

http://lifehacker.com/the-best-tips-…

Too Many Cooks: What’s Your Best Hosting Tip? | Food52

Photo by Didriks.

What to Do When You Think a Friend Is Being Cheated On

What to Do When You Think a Friend Is Being Cheated On

Knowing about the infidelity of a friend’s significant other can be the most awkward situation ever. You want to inform and console your friend, but you don’t want to damage your relationship with them and end up being the dead messenger. If you think (or know) your friend is being cheated on, here are some things to consider.http://lifehacker.com/5804677/why-pe…

The Hardest Part: Deciding Whether You Should Say Anything at All

You might be wondering why this section is even here (you don’t want me to tell my best friend?!), but many people believe it isn’t their place to tell. There are a lot of things to consider before you say or do anything. This event, depending on how it’s handled, could potentially ruin your friendship. Your friend might “shoot the messenger” and get angry with you for telling them, they might get angry with you for waiting too long to tell them, or they might assume you had some part in covering it up. Even if you’re fortunate, and they don’t outwardly show any anger toward you, they might always think of you as a starting point for the whole painful incident. In their minds, everything was hunky dory until you told them, and they may want to distance themselves from anything that reminds them of the pain.

As Mark D. White, Ph.D, at Psychology Today explains, you’re going to feel caught between wanting to do the “best” thing (like finding a way to help your friend and protect your friendship), and the “right” thing (like telling them straight away). The problem is, doing the “right” thing can be handled poorly. And doing the “best” thing might mitigate some of the damage, but it can also cause problems of its own since it requires a little more time and thought. Keep in mind that you’re not a bad friend for carefully weighing all of your options here. In fact, taking the time to find the ideal way to approach (or not approach) this particular situation makes you a better friend.

For starters, you’re probably angry yourself, or at least upset, so you should definitely take some time to cool down before you make any moves. This is an extremely delicate situation for all parties involved, so no good can come from you blowing this thing wide open in a fit of rage. Separate yourself from the people involved and give yourself some time to think about things.http://lifehacker.com/how-to-control…

The first thing you want to consider is how close you are to the person that was cheated on. Our own Vanessa Marin, a licensed marriage therapist currently at the helm of Lifehacker: After Hours, suggests that it’s not worth putting yourself in such an uncomfortable situation if you’re not that close to the person. They may be your “friend,” but what does that really mean? Are they a co-worker, a gym acquaintance, a friend of a friend? How often are you around them in a social or personal way? Don’t inject yourself into a situation that you don’t belong in. You might not be worried about ruining a friendship that isn’t very close, but there is a lot more at stake than that. You could destroy a relationship, cause other people to draw lines and destroy other friendships, and maybe even make some enemies of your own along the way. If they are your best friend, or someone you’re relatively close with (like a family member), it might be worth it, but otherwise save yourself the trouble. It’s not your responsibility.

The second thing you need to do is make sure you are absolutely positive that someone is actually getting cheated on. Do not share suspicions, rumors, or gut feelings with your friend or other members of your friend group. Dr. Nerdlove, relationship expert and blogger, explains:

Telling your friend that you think their partner is cheating on them is introducing a drama landmine into the relationship. If you’re going to tell them that you think they’re being cheated on, then you had better be 100% sure—and by which I mean someone confesses to you that they’re cheating on their partner or you see said cheating happen.

If you’re not completely sure of what’s going on, your involvement is going to cause way more problems than it could ever solve. Furthermore, talking about it with other friends in your social circle will create drama that doesn’t need to be there. Get your facts straight and make sure that you are certain before you do anything.

You might want to consider the inner workings of their relationship as well. You may think you know what their romantic situation is like, but it’s quite possible even a close friend won’t tell you every nuance of their love life. Marin explains:

Don’t make any assumptions about your friend’s relationship. Lots of people have arrangements with their partners that they don’t choose to share with other people.

Nerdlove agrees, and points out the possibility of arrangements as well:

…you don’t necessarily know the state of the couple’s relationship. They may be monogamish. It may be something that they’ve arranged consensually.

Remember, you aren’t a part of their relationship. You may feel like you know everything because you share things with your friend, but there is bound to be plenty you don’t know. You can try to do some digging, but it’s a hard topic to bring up in conversation without sounding off any alarms. As you decide what you should do, definitely consider the possibility that everyone already knows what’s going on.

Lastly, you have to take the humiliation factor into account. When you get cheated on, you feel foolish for having put so much trust in someone. It’s incredibly painful, and knowing that others are aware of it all is even more painful. As Nerdlove points out, there are plenty of times you’d rather not have witnesses to the darker times in your own relationships, so it’s safe to assume that your friend feels the same way. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not worth telling them still, but it should definitely be something you think about when you make your decision.http://lifehacker.com/how-to-move-pa…

If you’re still struggling to decide what you should do after you’ve taken everything here into consideration, White suggests you ask yourself this:

“What would my friend want me to do?”

It might seem like there is an obvious answer to that question, but really think about it. How do they react to bad news normally? Do they prefer to have the bandage ripped off or peeled away? Imagine how they’re going to react and consider your approach accordingly.

Option A: Don’t Tell Them

This is the safest option if you’re not that close with the person being cheated on. It’s also the safest option if you are not 110% positive that anything actually happened. There’s no denying that choosing not to say anything can feel awkward, and maybe even a little wrong, but you’re probably avoiding a slew of other problems by staying out of it.

Nerdlove notes that what happened, whether you’re certain of it or not, may have been a one-time mistake that won’t ever happen again. If you blow the whistle, you could be ending a relationship that might have otherwise survived. Keeping quiet doesn’t put the cheater in the right by any means, but it does give the couple a chance to adjust to things on their own terms.

Option B: Tell Them and Support Them (If They Want It)

If you’re certain that your close friend was cheated on, it might be time to face the music. The last thing you want is for your friend to “shoot the messenger,” however, so you need to approach them with caution. Marin recommends you decide quickly and tell them as soon as possible:

The more time you spend mulling over your decision, the more uncomfortable it can get. Your friend is inevitably going to ask “when did this happen” or “how long have you known?” If it comes out that you sat on this information for months, it can feel really awful for your friend.

Things will not go well for anyone if you wait too long, so it pays to be quick. Still, the way you actually say it is important too. Even if you witnessed the act first hand (or heard it from the horse’s mouth), you need to remember that it’s possible their relationship works differently than you thought. Bring attention to what happened, but try not to sound judgemental. For example, you could say things like:

“Listen, I found about this and wanted to let you know. I don’t know what your arrangement is, and I’m not looking to judge, but I felt like I should tell you in case you didn’t know.”

They may surprise you with a “yeah, I know,” and they may not. Either way, in that scenario, you’re avoiding inflammatory, judgemental language, name calling, and avoiding blaming words like cheating, cheated, cheater, etc.

If they were unaware of what happened, they will probably be a little shocked and upset. In fact, they may not even believe you, and they might get mad at you. Nerdlove explains:

As much as people swear they’d want to know, the knee-jerk response I see from people being told that their partner is cheating on them is to call bullshit and—frequently—get mad at the person telling them. This gets even more complicated if you have (or are believed to have) feelings for the person being cheated on. I’ve gotten letters from dudes who’ll swear up and down that they saw Boy J cheating on Girl K and are eager to inform K about said infidelity. Of course, there’s the fact that they have a not-so-secret crush on K complicating the matters. It almost always ends with K being pissed at the letter writer for trying to break the two of them up.

Think about how the situation might look to them before you tell them. Do you have a past with your friend’s significant other (even if it was just a crush or casual thing)? Do you have any feelings at all for them? It’s a good idea to take a third-person view of all the puzzle pieces before you jump in.

It’s also important to empathize with your friend when you tell them. You might not believe it either if it happened to you; and you might be just as angry. If they want your support, give it to them (even if they’re being a little mean). Show that you support them no matter what they decide. Relationships are complicated and it’s not your place to tell them how to live their life, but you can still be a good friend and back them up on whatever they do.http://lifehacker.com/the-science-be…

Option C: Confront the Cheater

Confronting the cheater themselves might be the safest option if you feel the need to address things, but are afraid of damaging your friendship. Just as if you were to tell your friend, this is only something you should consider if you’re certain of what’s going on, so don’t accuse people of things without the facts to back it up. Nerdlove suggests that confronting the cheater gives them a chance to stop and come clean with your friend on their own or you will tell them.

This comes with its own dangers, of course, because a malicious significant other could potentially throw you under the bus and tell your friend that you knew the whole time. That being said, if it seems like the cheater made a mistake and knows it was wrong, this option can allow the couple to work things out on their own and keep you out of the fray. You can help your friend and avoid becoming a casualty of love.

Illustration by Tara Jacoby.

MidwayMeetup Finds a Central Location to Meet Up With Someone

MidwayMeetup Finds a Central Location to Meet Up With Someone

Let’s say you’re meeting a few friends or colleagues for lunch during the week, and you all work in different parts of town. Common etiquette is to find a central meeting location for everyone, and MidwayMeetup makes it easy to do this.

From the site, you enter everyone’s location, then enter what you want to do (coffee, lunch, drinks, etc.), and the tool maps out a number of spots equidistant to everyone. The site also marks the central location with a green arrow that you can drag and drop to your liking.

The site is currently in beta, so the locations are limited, but it still works well. Give it a try for yourself at the link below.

MidwayMeetup