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I'm Sick Of People Playing Games At Parties

Pamela Ross

There’s a scorn-worthy phenomenon plaguing the social scene, and it’s one I cannot abide: grown adults playing games at parties.


I was hoping that post-pandemic (“post”), party games would be dispensed with. That after an extended period of isolation and grief, an opportunity to establish human connection would be, if not cherished, then at least respected. Instead, about 70% of the time I attend a social gathering, a game is pulled out and becomes the center of attention. This is wrong. The center of attention should be whoever is the most charismatic, the most engaging, the best able to hold court with stories, quips and overall presence. If you have nothing to remark upon except the weather or work, you should be dragged — perhaps kicking and screaming about squalls — from the premises and ejected into the night. What you should not do is initiate a round of charades, as if that compensates for your inability to socialize competently.


When I go out, I expect to commune with adults, not children who scream every time the Jenga tower collapses. My ears and my nerves cannot take it. And if your partying style is on the more straitlaced side, that’s fine. It’s great, even! It would be a welcome reprieve from the bar scene to discuss the latest Elena Ferrante novel with someone whose energy wasn’t palpably cocaine-y. I do not conflate partying with drinking or drug use. My own preference is to wade through nightlife with seltzer and bitters in hand, perhaps slightly stoned. Putting your mind and/or body through the wringer is not a prerequisite for fun. But you know what is? Being able to make eye contact, introduce yourself and start a conversation. 


If an activity could be rebranded as a “team-building exercise” for the workplace, it doesn’t belong at your housewarming or Friendsgiving. Full stop! This is a drum I will beat until my hands are chapped and raw, or until I become a competent djembe player. Call me a curmudgeon if you must. A party-pooper, even. I will not buckle. I will poop on your party, at least figuratively, if I see guests playing a damn game. 


Welcome party elements: pets, food (especially portable appetizers), drinks (alcoholic and non), furniture designed for lounging/reclining, tasteful lighting, accessible outdoor space for smokers, certain children.


Unwelcome party elements: games (board, party, psychological), bedbugs, certain children.


If the party is built around games — if that’s the theme — that’s acceptable. It gives prospective guests a heads up and time to make other plans. But to spring a game on unsuspecting friends, family and colleagues? That’s a party foul, dude. You should be fined and forced to read Emily Post’s Etiquette ($18.49 on Kindle). 


Despite my abrasive tone, I can assure you that I *am* here to make friends – just not by playing games.


If you enjoyed today’s moot, follow Pamela on Twitter and Instagram. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to Ready for Rescue, Pamela’s charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'I'm Sick Of People Playing Games At Parties' in the style of John Singer Sargent, the Pamela's artist of choice.*

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DALL·E 2022-10-16 20.31.42 - people playing party games in the style of John Singer Sargen

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