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How to Make New Friends by Hosting a Party: Dan’s Story

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Dan is a busy entrepreneurial dad with three kids.

For Dan and many others, the past few years have made relationships hard to keep and even harder to start.

Listen to Dan and Nick talk about his party and Nick’s book on this episode of The Meaning Movement Podcast.

Finding a fun way to make new friends at this stage in life is a plus for him and his wife, Stacia.

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Group selfie from Dan’s party using the methods from The 2-Hour Cocktail Party.

It’s not something that happens often without intentionality right now.

How did the parties go?

Dan has been following my method of throwing parties. He read my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, and he loved it.

Dan says the three parties he has hosted after reading the book have been awesome.

“It went really well!  We had a blast and everyone loved it. We’ve now hosted three parties using your party formula.”

Dan’s partner Stacia added:

“We still haven’t had any repeat guests! Three parties with totally different attendees. This has been a great way for us to connect with so many folks from various circles in our lives.”

Dan's party guests posing for a picture.
Great group! Another party that Dan hosted after reading my book.

How this was different from EVERY other party

There is a lot more structure, Dan says, but in a good way!

When you’re hosting a cocktail party, it makes it so easy to invite somebody.

And it also makes it even easier for them to say yes!

Compared to a dinner party, or 1-on-1 dinner, that can take two to three hours.

Dan’s hesitation: Icebreakers

Dan thought at first that doing icebreakers may be kind of awkward.

He didn’t want his friends to think it’s weird.

Doing icebreakers takes a bit of leadership. You need to step in and step up and really own that host role.

Icebreakers are actually… fun?

Contrary to what Dan had feared, the icebreakers at his first party went super smooth. Everyone had a blast.

And the best part? Because of the icebreakers, Dan and his guests made new friends!

Dan's guests wearing their nametags.
Dan and his guests with their nametags!

One of Dan’s guests who lives on the south side of Seattle wanted to co-host a party with Dan. To invite new friends from a different part of town.

That’s the greatest compliment: when somebody says that you hosted such a good party, it makes them want to host their own, too!

Some more party photos

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Dan and his guests preparing their cocktail drinks.
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Gathering up for a great conversation.
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Dan getting so amused by his guest’s story.
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Guests circling up for icebreakers.
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Dan introducing the round of icebreakers.

Bonus: Harmonicas!

Dan comes from a musical family.

And he did get the harmonica for his second party!

The 2-Hour Cocktail Party instructs new party hosts to purchase a party harmonica in order to get people’s attention and start the icebreakers.

Dan loved using this because he said that the guests always know what will happen next once they hear the harmonica.

“They always knew exactly what to do.”


This is a video that Dan submitted from his party, showing the icebreakers getting started:

Benefits of hosting a party

Dan said that many great connections were made at his party.

“Guests were asking us to do it again!”

For introverts: Lowering the barrier to new conversations

Stacia is a little more introverted than Dan. Parties can feel taxing, especially to introverts.

But because cocktail parties are small and have just the right number of people, Stacia loved it. 

Dan and his wife, Stacia, on a beautiful vacation.
Dan and Stacia on a beautiful vacation.

The party has given Stacia the space for more intentional connections. The nametags and the icebreakers give that structure which help her make new friends.

There are many things in my party formula that lower the barrier to entry that introverted people naturally shy away from. The 2-Hour Cocktail Party is introvert-friendly!

Making new connections

The best way to make new friends, new connections, and new relationships is to start off by adding value.

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Guests making new friends!

Hosting parties can benefit these people a lot:

Those who know a lot of people

You don’t get a chance to see these people so often. But you’d like to spend more time with them.

Those in a transitory phase

These are people who have recently gone through a social transition.

That could be a breakup or a divorce. They could have recently moved to a new town and are looking to create new connections and meet people.

Dan and Stacia’s Invitation

It started with just friends, people that they’d like to spend time with.

And then there are those that they just want to get to know more and want to hang out with.

Aside from Dan, his guests have also made tons of connections with people they have never met. Lots of great energy was happening between newly-acquainted people.

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Guests having fun at Dan’s party.

And it was so fun for Dan to facilitate that kind of connection.

Using Mixily for RSVP collections

Here’s the actual invitation that Dan and Stacia used to invite people to their party and collect the RSVPs.

They used Mixily for their RSVP page. 

Screenshot of Dan's Mixily event

Testimonial and Conclusion

This is what Dan had to say about his experience:

“Stacia and I love the idea of doing a monthly party. We’re excited to kick things off and to explore other party formats with you as well.

He continued:

The 2-Hour Cocktail Party is a fantastic book. I can’t wait for it to be published! I’m excited to pick up a physical copy of the book. It’ll be a great quick reference to pull off the shelf and revisit as we plan each party.”

Check out Dan’s podcast here: The Meaning Movement Podcast.

Leave a comment on this article here.

About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

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