The 10 Worst Mistakes a Party Host Can Make, According to Guests

And they have nothing to do with overcooked chicken!

Hosting a dinner party—or any party, really—can be a stressful endeavor. There's simply so much to do, so many moving parts. There's also the anxiety that comes from wanting everyone to be happy, well-fed, physically comfortable, at ease, and hopefully even a little impressed—but not knowing exactly how to achieve that. You can't read your guests' minds to know if they hate your music selection, don't like how long you're taking in the kitchen, or secretly wish you'd offered a dairy-free dish.

Mental telepathy aside, you can get some insights into what party guests are really thinking—at least in a general way. Start here: A OnePoll survey conducted for BJ's Wholesale reveals party guests' top-rated pet peeves about their hosts.

At the top of the don't-do list? Waiting too long to serve food or drinks. The takeaway here is to get a refreshment in guests' hands the moment they arrive—and then point them toward the bites.

Another top offender is forcing people to mingle. While no one can blame you for wanting your guests to be somewhat social, it's best to remember that for many people, making small talk is hard. (Here's an idea: Early in the party, you or a designated friend might gently invite guests to participate in one of these fantastic party games to get people better acquainted.)

The third most-mentioned host oversight is not offering a dairy or gluten-free option. In this day and age (especially if kids are coming), it's smart to poll the guest list for allergies and dietary restrictions beforehand. If you don't, make sure to offer a good variety of dietary options.

Ironically, a few of the least favorite host behaviors had to do with host anxiety: apologizing too much, trying to clean while everyone's still there, or being annoyingly accommodating (hosts should be attuned and attentive, but not overbearing). Guests notice if their host is on edge or trying too hard, while a happy and relaxed host will set the tone for the entire party.

Here's the full list of party snafus that rub party guests the wrong way:

1. Waiting too long to serve food or drinks (39 percent)

2. Asking guests to mingle (34 percent)

3. Not offering any sort of gluten-free or dairy-free option (34 percent)

4. Starting to clean up too early (32 percent)

5. Getting drunk (30 percent)

6. Cancel the party the day of (30 percent)

7. Apologize too much (30 percent)

8. Rushing people out the door (29 percent)

9. Trying too hard to be accommodating (27 percent)

10. Not playing music (26 percent)

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