How to be an Interesting Party Host/Guest on New Year’s Eve

I don’t know about you, but for me many New Year’s Eve parties have included this sequence of events…

  • Count down while watching the ball drop in Time Square… 3… 2… 1…
  • Start hugging and clanking glasses with the friends and family around me.
  • Sing “Should old acquaintance be forgot, blah blah blah blah,,blah blah. Should old acquaintance be forgot, blah blah blah old lang syne.”
  • Wonder aloud… Does anyone know anything beyond the first 2 lines of the song?  What does old lang syne mean?  And why would someone want to forget old acquaintances anyway?

Sound familiar?

Well, this year you can be the most interesting person at the New Years party by having the answers to those questions.  (See, living intentionally can even help you party better!)

Facts about Auld Lang Syne

“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish poem believed to be written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song.

The song’s Scots title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago” or “days gone by”.  The phrase is used in the retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language and is the equivalent to “Once upon a time”

Auld Lang Syne – English Translation

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine† ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


Auld Lang Syne is a song about raising a glass to old friends and old times.

Memorize this and tonight people will think you’re… (begin Spanish accent) the most interesting man (or woman) in the world.  (Roll the Dos Equis commercial)

For more info see the wikipedia article on Auld Lang Syne, which is where I got all the above info.

An even better idea…

Knowing the lyrics and origins of Auld Lang Syne may get you 5-10 minutes of fun and attention at a New Year’s Eve party, but if you really want to be a truly engaging party guest or host, let me offer five better suggestions.

  1. Be an initiator.  Don’t wait for others to come up to you.  Go over to people and start conversations.
  2. Smile and make eye contact.
  3. Within the first 30 seconds of every conversation say something complimentary or encouraging to the other person.
  4. Ask the other person about himself or herself.
  5. Listen.  Really listen.  Think about what the other person is saying rather than about what you’re going to say next.  Ask clarifying questions.  Imagine what you would feel like if you were in their situation.

[image by rj3]

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