Recently I attended a 60's themed party at a friend's house. The house was decorated, the drinks were plentiful, and the guests wore costumes. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a fabulous party, right? Wrong. Nobody really knew anybody at the event, and everyone hung out in cliques on the outskirts of the kitchen. Instead of being awesome it was awkward. The hostess in me was dying to organize some sort of forced mingling: a card game, introductions, dancing... anything to get the party going. Although I believe in making your guests feel comfortable, if your friends from college refuse to talk to your friends from high school, it's your duty, as a hostess to encourage the flow of conversation between all of your guests. I've been known to choose names out of a hat for teams in a pool tournament, require that everyone play a drinking game, and force friends to sit Spanish-speaker, English-speaker, Spanish-speaker. In my opinion it's up to you as a hostess to make things go smoothly and if you have to force invitees to mingle, do so.
How about you? Have you ever done something crazy to get your party started? What are your feelings on forced mingling?