“Easy Untertaining” is the Secret to Seeing Your Friends More
“Host” really is a four-letter word. Establishing the guest list. Figuring out a time that works for everyone. Planning a meal. (Or worse: strategically planning a not-meal so you don’t have to blow your budget, but then you end up spending $73 on fancy cheese and artisanal jam.) Entertaining at home is hard work.
You know what’s not hard work? Untertaining.
“Untertaining” is a term we coined here at Apartment Therapy to describe those get-togethers that just kind of… come together. The kind of parties where there is no e-vite, no pressure to plan. Just you and your friends or family, enjoying the home that you work so hard to care for.
Do we really need a word like “untertaining”?
I mean, no. Not really. The concept of Having People Over? It seems so simple. So natural. And yet, we’re not doing it. In a 2015 article for The New York Times titled “The Death of the Party,” writer Teddy Wayne uncovered evidence that young people just aren’t having house parties like they used to.
Wayne walks through several hypotheses for the decline of the house party: How the personal-screen entertainment explosion turned us all into Saturday-night couch potatoes. The fact that texting makes it easier than ever to flake at the last minute. How the kale era made everyone so much of a foodie that “potato chips sitting there” no longer feels like appropriate party nosh. And then there’s the unavoidable truth of rising rents forcing friend groups to move far apart from the city center (and each other) in small spaces and sometimes un-hip locales, like a parent’s house.
Ahead of the bustling holiday season and the self-reflective start of another year, we wanted to give you some truths and tools to help you host at home and see your friends more. Like any goal or resolution, it helps to define a vocabulary. And establish some guidelines. So that’s what we set out to do.
How to Start “Untertaining”
The real answer is: Just start. Pick a day (this weekend, or even today!). Send a text. Crack open that trail mix from the pantry and grab a bottle of that “good enough” cheap wine you buy for yourself all the time.
If that seems scary, it’s OK. You’re not alone. Beyond coming up with a ridiculous word to empower you to have people over more, we created the Easy Untertaining hub to give you more advice and inspiration to host your own easy party sometime soon.
We asked some of our favorite lifestyle experts to identify four “Hosting Hangups” that keep most people from entertaining at home:
- Melissa Coleman of The Faux Martha shared how having a “go-to gathering routine” allows her to fit house parties into a busy schedule.
- Chantal Aida Gordon of The Horticult told us how to maximize a small space for entertaining and feel confident welcoming people into your cozy shindig.
- Melissa Maker of Clean My Space walks us through how to open your doors to guests when you feel like your messy home doesn’t measure up.
- And Erin Lowry of the Broke Millennial and personal finance expert Dave Lowell both had great advice for getting creative to show people a good time without a lot of money.
Once you’re in the right frame of mind to set up your own meet-up, the Apartment Therapy editors are sharing their own tips and experiences with Untertaining, including the three elements of a lazy party, a list of ideas to spark a simple yet memorable gathering, plus what happened when one of our editors tried a last-minute “no pressure” get together in her small NYC apartment this past weekend.
It’s all happening on the Easy Untertaining hub, so stay tuned!