If you trust your friends, you can probably trust the quality of your friend’s friend’s friend, right? That’s the logic behind a second degree dinner. If you are new to an area or school, hosting a second degree dinner is a great way to meet people.

After watching the @sherhymeswithorange second degree dinner video, I threw a second degree dinner with my friend Susan. We served Thai food with lavender margaritas. What was originally supposed to be an hour and a half dinner turned into a four hour-long conversation. I’ve always been a sucker for opportunities to meet new people, and the second degree dinner did not disappoint.

What is a second degree dinner?

The only thing you need for a second degree dinner is one friend or acquaintance. Have that person invite one friend to your dinner and have that friend invite a friend. The idea is to meet people through people you already know. You can keep the chain going, but I recommend limiting it to six people total. Instead of relying on random platonic meet-cutes, you can host a gathering of possible besties, vetted by your friends, in the comfort of your own home.

How to hose a second degree dinner 

The idea is that each person at the party is meeting at least three people they’ve never met before. For my party, I invited Ben, and Ben invited Charlie. Susan, my co-host, invited Jordyn, and Jordyn invited George. The second-degree invitees get to meet four new people. Usually, each party starts the dinner with every person giving a small personal introduction. Then, everyone reveals a current personal problem, and the rest of the table helps to workshop solutions. These early introduction efforts generate many different types of conversations, spanning from superficial to serious.

Joelle Stephenson

For my second degree dinner, we met at 6pm in Susan’s dorm room. We started with the regular round of introductions, but the table quickly began to improvise and our conversation became tangential as we went from dating advice to cooking disaster stories. Don’t be afraid to let the group improvise conversation. This can create the greatest bonding.

How to host a second degree dinner on a budget 

Pick an inexpensive location, like your own apartment, and have every invitee bring something edible. Coming from Wisconsin, I’m always a fan of sweet or savory casseroles, but any theme can promote intimacy with the right people. So, settle on a fun theme and have everyone bring a snack. Just an idea, but you could have a pasta party and everyone could bring a different pasta dish. Things are never awkward when you’re eating pasta.