We tend to say that every gathering of friends is a party, but is it, though?
There are actually a few differences between a party and a gathering, yes, they are not written in a book, but many people agree on them from what I heard on forums and from my friends and acquaintances.
This information is not life-changing but it helps to set realistic expectations when you invite some friends to hang out. If you tell them to come to your house for a party and all you do is drink a coffee and talk about all kinds of stuff, it is not really a party, it is a gathering with your friends.
So let’s see what the differences are between a party and a gathering of people/friends, I will talk more about friends not corporate things, but those differences can apply to corporate/professional gatherings and parties as well.
6 Differences between a party and a gathering
1. Who do you invite
Usually, a gathering is with a few friends you want to talk with. A party can be with more people that are not necessarily so close to you but invite them anyway for a better vibe at the party.
This happens because usually, at parties, even the low-key ones, we don’t need to talk a lot with every guest, and they will make small groups of people to spend time with. So, it doesn’t really matter if all the attendees are close friends to you or just casual friends. I have an article about keeping friends groups separated that touches a bit on this topic, but parties are a good moment to invite more friends because there is no expectation to talk with everyone that is in that room.
2. Party is more for music and dance
Parties are more for music, drinking, and dancing, while gatherings are more about talking. I don’t think that you can call it a party if you don’t put on music for people to dance or at least move a bit while talking.
At a gathering, we spend most of the time on the chair, while at a party, people might stand up and talk even if they don’t necessarily dance.
3. Possibility to retreat in a corner.
Even if it doesn’t look like it, parties are a bit lighter for everyone compared to a gathering. At a gathering, you must always pay attention to what is discussed and preferably be involved. At a party, you can retreat a bit into a corner for a break, and there are chances that no one will even notice.
4. Time spent
This one is a bit related to the 3rd point, when you have to be focused almost all the time, it is harder to want to spend a long time there. When you add that people usually stay more at a gathering when there is also something else to do besides talking, it’s quite obvious that parties are longer than gatherings.
5. How much people drink
Usually, at parties people drink a bit more alcohol, this is not necessarily a rule because you can drink a lot even at a gathering with friends, but at parties, we usually dance, have a good time, and forget to pay attention to how much we are drinking, and it might be something we are doing on without realizing.
Drinking more usually makes us spend more time in a place, which is another reason why parties might be longer.
6. Planned or not
Gatherings are more spontaneous than parties, it’s easier to call a few friends and ask them to hang out at someone’s house, at a bar, or something like that, but it is not as easy to invite people to a party where they are expected to spend more time and sometimes money.
When we organize a party, we inform people ahead of time and ask for confirmation to make sure they can make it. Gatherings are a bit more casual when it comes to organizing them since there are not so many things to put in order.
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Are gatherings better than parties or vice-versa?
I don’t think one is better than another, people are different and enjoy different things. I have an entire article about introverts hating parties in which I discussed why they don’t actually hate parties and what the deal is with this belief.
I preferred gatherings for a long time but now I’m getting better at dancing, and I have started enjoying parties more and more. But I definitely make people feel better when I talk and joke than when I dance, so there is also that when it comes to parties.
If you want to make new friends or connect better with the ones you have, a gathering might be more useful. Parties are good as well because usually, later at a party, people are tired and start talking more openly about all kinds of stuff, alcohol might be a reason, but it doesn’t actually matter if you get to know them better.
So it is more about the preferences rather than which one is better.
Make sure you let your friends know if you plan a gathering or a party when you invite them to set realistic expectations.
I hope this article helped you, and know you know the differences between a gathering and a party with friends.