Whether you’re having people over for cocktails, dinner or a bash, take the time to consider your guest list rather than just dialing up the same list of pals you call on every time. The best hostesses develop a reputation for creating events that put new people together.
Mix up people from different fields; make sure to invite a balance of men and women (unless there’s specific reason not to); ask old friends and new. Don’t be afraid to invite people you’ve just met or know only a little. In fact, this is often the key to a successful party.
Consider who are the debaters and who are simply decorative and diverting; put them side by side.
You should, at least loosely, keep track of to whom you owe invitations. You cannot expect to be invited if you are not reciprocating invitations. This shouldn’t become a duty, but keep in mind that if you want to be part of a social world, you must contribute to it as well as enjoy it.
You also needn’t entertain in the same manner that you were entertained. If you want to “pay back” Miss SuperRich for the elaborately catered dinner she invited you to, it’s perfectly gracious to ask her over for chili and Monday night football. Remember, it’s the gesture that matters, not the cost of it.