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How to Plan a Birthday Party

3 Major Mistakes That Will Ruin Any Birthday Party

Your birthday is the one day that you get a no-judgment pass to feel special and be celebrated just for being born. But if you're throwing yourself a party, make sure you do it the right way.

As host of the Influencers Dinner — a private dining experience attended by hundreds of industry leaders, ranging from Academy Award-winning actors and famous musicians to renowned scientists and royalty — I've learned what makes a great party. I've also learned the mistakes that will make a party so bad, your friends won't want to RSVP next year.

1. Inviting drama queens

When you're picking who to go out with, selecting the right group can make or break the party. The best people for a fun night out tend to be low-drama, up for anything, fun-loving, and able to push you out of your comfort zone.


If you look back at the most exciting nights of your life, the most important thing was the people you surrounded yourself with. The wrong people will ruin your night, but the right friends will make it unforgettably fun.

2. Picking a bad location

One of the fastest ways to fall into a rut is to keep going to the same places you always go. When things are new, your brain operates differently; think about how different your behavior is when you are on vacation in a foreign city or country. A new place entices us to explore. It won't always be perfect, but at least it won't be boring. It is the birthdays that are unique that truly stand out and that the guests will talk about for years to come.

Also, if you are doing a birthday dinner, be careful what restaurant you select. I know you want to eat somewhere nice, but forcing your friends to pay for an excessively expensive dinner, where they are stuck sitting between people they don't know or care to meet, is miserable.

3. Going on too long

According to research by famed Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, people aren't capable of processing the duration of pleasure or pain. Instead, we remember the peaks of an experience and how they end. Imagine this scenario: you go on a date and you're head over heels for the person. But as the date ends and you lean in for the kiss, your date says something that absolutely catches you off guard: "I love the way you smell. It really reminds me of my mother. Oh, and while we are talking about family, is that really hot girl in your profile photo single? Could you introduce us?" When asked about your date later, you will probably say it was a terrible, even though if was three hours of enjoyment and only three seconds of terrible.

People have a habit of pushing their parties or experiences too far. Instead, it's better to end on a positive note, which may mean ending early. You'll maximize your enjoyment and remember the experience much more fondly.

For more on creating parties that people actually want to go to, planning unforgettable experiences, and living a remarkable and exciting life, pick up a copy of The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure, on sale now.

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