I care about my friends, and I believe it's mutual, but I've noticed a trend over the past couple of years.

Nowadays we generally tend to visit each other's homes rather than go out to bars or restaurants. Usually if I have people over to my place I'll organise games for us to play. To be honest, it's because a lot of my friends lack things in common as a group, so games are a great equaliser, and they save us from droning conversation from the one or two gregarious friends (who tend to talk a bit too much about themselves and drown out the others) or limp awkward silences from the shyer friends (who are in the majority).

I'm obviously pretty good at hosting games, because I've now found myself in the position where most of the time I get an invite to a friend's place, I'm asked to bring games for the group to play.

These aren't board games, these are games that take time to prep, advance forethought as to who the guests are and what they'd be comfortable doing. On top of that, on the night I'm running each game, explaining rules etc. I've realised that it's pretty exhausting because it's so frequent now. My friend might have made us dinner, but it feels like I'm hosting for them the whole night.

Also, I'm not actually outgoing by nature, games were my crutch at my own evenings, and I have a minor level of social anxiety: just enough that it's mentally and emotionally tiring for me to go out and socialise.

I understand that a lot of my friends are on the reserved side, and the strain is taken off them if they have me doing all the icebreaking and getting people into good moods via the games. I also understand that they don't know how tough it is to do, they almost see it as a natural talent rather than something I'm working at.

How can I convey to my friends that this is an issue? My concern is that if I say "I'd really like to just be a guest this time" that the real host will then leave everyone sitting in silence for the night because they won't know how to deal with it. And then... I will end up breaking the silence and rambling on, and trying to get people to talk, because prolonged awkward silences make me nervous... therefore I'll end up with even more stress and work!

  • 2
    Are you really sure that if you just take it easy that the consequences will be that dire? That no one will talk to anyone about anything? That seems rather odd for a group of friends.
    – DaveG
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 1:27
  • No, there would be the odd sentence or two and attempt at convo, and then it would peter out into the awkwardness. Each person would be waiting for someone else to come up with conversation. Once we're an hour or two in everyone's relaxed and the awkward silences no longer occur. If one of my gregarious friends are there then this isn't really an issue but they tend to monopolise the night without realising they're doing it, unless there's a driving force (ie games) where people take turns to speak.
    – Weeno
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 1:37
  • 7
    Why don't you just bring small game that don't need preparation and that are easy to play with rules quick to explain? Do you have any reason against that or is it something that you will be open to?
    – Ael
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 8:19
  • 1
    How many friends do you have in the group? Is "Pictionary" or "Rapidough" or "Mariocart" an option for a game that requires no preparation on your part where everyone can play as players?
    – Pam
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 20:19
  • do your friends know how much prep time these games take?
    – WendyG
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


My response will be a bit of a "workaround" (as I don't know how to solve your issue otherwise).

What I would suggest is: instead of having the choice between "bringing a game that needs a lot of preparation" and "bringing no game", you choose the third option: "bringing a game that doesn't really need preparation".

This way, when your friend ask you to bring (a) game(s), you don't have the choice between "yes" (which is not a solution you want) and "no" (that is likely to makes your friend feel bad). You can give them an alternative solution that won't make them feel like a rejection (it is my experience that people don't really like hearing "no" when asking for something and they would much rather have an alternative solution).

So, when your friend asks, I would suggest answering something like that:

Do you mind if I bring "small" games this time? Having to do all the preparation of big games is really exhausting and I would really like to do something less demanding this time.

With this phrasing, you have suggested the alternative solution and you have also explaining to them why having to bring "big" games is a problem for you.

This way, if your friend really want a "big" game, they can volunteer to do all the preparation themselves (since they know what the issue is with "big" games). They can also accept your offer and even add some "small" games of their own.

It's also important to notice that you are not just explaining a problem to them. You are also bringing a solution. In my experience, when people are face with a problem to which they don't have the solution, they feel bad. So, explaining the problem and bringing the solution (or the other way around) won't have this negative effect.


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