A party’s always a great place to meet new people, no matter when and where it is, and who the other guests are. Some parties are better for meeting potential dates and new friends, while you can use others to make important connections that will move your career forward.
However, you won’t be able to enhance your social life or your working life if all the people at the parties you attend think that you’re a complete fool. To avoid being thought of this way, you’ve simply got to put your best foot forward and make a positive impression on the other guests.
How to stay classy at a party
Not to worry, though—there isn’t some “party manners” book from the 1950s that you need to take out of the library and memorize—if you follow the basic tips below, you’ll be just fine!
#1 Don’t drink too much. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have a good time—you just don’t want to be the one throwing up at the dinner table or all over the host’s couch. Know approximately how many drinks you can have without starting to feel queasy, and stick to that limit, even if others try to goad you into drinking more.
To further reduce your risk of woofing your cookies, make sure you eat a bit of food as you drink, and if you can tell that your walk is starting to become more of a stumble, switch to water for a while.
#2 Remember your table manners. Some people, after they’ve had a few alcoholic beverages, completely let their dining etiquette go. They’ll start chewing with their mouth open, scarfing down chips, spewing them back into the dish, and dribbling their beverages on others without apologizing.
You should do whatever you can to avoid being one of those people, since if you are, you’ll certainly be talked about after an event. It might even get you blacklisted from all the hottest events! [Read: 12 ways to avoid a first impression catastrophe]
#3 Wear proper clothing and keep it on. Before you head out to a party, ask the host what the accepted style of dress will be. You don’t want to show up in flip-flops and shorts while the other guests are in suits or ball gowns.
If there’s no particular style specified, use common sense when selecting your outfit. For example, you should know that a t-shirt that says “#1 Panty Inspector” or “Squeeze Me” across the chest is not appropriate for a work function. Whatever you wear, keep it on throughout the duration of the party. Streaking may have been cool when you were 15, but it’ll just make you look like a loser now.
#4 Find a private place for romance. It’s understandable that you may come upon a girl or guy you’re attracted to at a party, and the next step after some flirting will likely be a lip-lock.
However, there’s no need to put on a show for everyone by engaging in tonsil hockey in the middle of a crowded room. Find a quiet place to go with your love interest, or if that seems impossible, leave the event altogether to get some private time. [Read: 11 seduction tips to get your party hookup into your bed]
#5 Don’t hook up with multiple people. Even if you’re not doing it in front of everyone, it’s not cool to hook up with multiple girls or guys at the same party. If you do so, people may start to talk about you as someone who’s way too promiscuous.
Plus, if you’re looking for a relationship, a potential mate may not think you’re girlfriend or boyfriend material once they learn that you’ve swapped spit with a couple of their good friends or co-workers within the same few hours.
#6 Watch your humor. When we’re drunk, that little voice in our heads that often says, “Don’t say that—it’s not polite!” tends to get quieter and quieter, until it’s no longer even speaking to us. We then are more likely to say things that offend or even anger other people.
Offense and anger usually disrupt the fun atmosphere of a party pretty quickly. So you’ve got to remember to filter your words, even when you’re feeling very fuzzy-headed. Keep in mind the acronym RRS—race, religion, and sexual orientation. Don’t make any jokes about these topics, no matter how funny you think they’ll be, as these are the ones that tend to get people very riled up. [Read: 13 ways to charm everyone with your humor]
#7 Don’t break anything. Whether you’re partying in a public place, or at someone’s home, you’ve got to respect the property of the host. You may feel like smashing a bunch of wine glasses in victory after winning a card game or trivia match, but this’ll just make you look like a bit of a jackass. Of course, if you’re even a bit tipsy, you could break things by accident, too. So it’s best to avoid any electronics or breakables that you spot around a party’s venue.
#8 Avoid going into over-the-top hysterics. While there are some situations in which it’s appropriate to display dramatic emotions, don’t use the fact that you’re in a room full of people to get attention for some small trauma.
It’s okay to cry and expect sympathy if you’ve just received a call about a family member being in the hospital, but don’t start sobbing simply because your partner hasn’t returned your most recent text within ten minutes. No one wants to party with a drama king or queen!
#9 Keep your fists down and your voice at a dull roar. Alcohol tends to bring out pent-up aggression. So seeing arguments or even physical fights take place at parties isn’t all that uncommon, but you don’t want to be the guy or girl who ends up trying to solve a problem with their fists or screams or both.
If someone tries to engage you in a fight while you’re partying, the best course of action is to excuse yourself and go chat with a group of other people—they can also act as protection if the person seeking conflict does get aggressive. In the event that this person happens to be your significant other or a close friend, tell them that you’ll talk to them about their concerns after the party is over.
#10 Be faithful to your significant other. This should be a no-brainer, but some people think that once alcohol’s on the table, all bets are off. Your S.O. is unlikely to accept the lame excuse of “I was drunk,” though. You may think that you can keep your cheating a secret from them, but even if they don’t know any of the other guests at a party directly, word tends to travel quickly and expansively throughout the social grapevine.
[Read: 25 honest reasons why women cheat easily]
[Read: 10 simple reasons men cheat on their ladies]
#11 Drop your phone and mingle. Parties are for catching up with old friends and acquaintances, plus meeting new people face-to-face. So don’t spend an entire shindig texting friends who aren’t there, or playing Candy Crush.
If you’re going to be on your phone all night, you might as well be at home in front of the television. People will think you’re rather unfriendly if they try to chat you up and you’re constantly tapping at your keyboard.
If you’re awkwardly busying yourself with your phone because no one is talking to you, you can always ask the host or someone you do know to introduce you to more people. If that fails, bartenders can make for some great conversations. [Read: 9 tips to help you make party small talk]
#12 Be neat and clean whenever possible. Cleaning up after a party can be a lot of work. So to make things easier on the host, whether you’re at a home or at a public venue, don’t be the party’s Pig-Pen.
If you use a napkin, find a trash can instead of casually tossing it on a piece of furniture. If you happen to spill your beer, hunt down a paper towel instead of leaving it on the floor for people to slip in. You’ll also get brownie points if you offer to stay and help clean afterward—this may come in handy if the host happens to be your boss, or an incredibly attractive member of the opposite sex!
#13 Refrain from snooping. People want to acquaint themselves with others who are trustworthy, so your party’s host will not be happy if they, for instance, find you snooping through their underwear drawer or looking at the bank statements on the desk of their home office. If you’re identified as a snoop, you may also be assumed to be a thief, so you could become suspect number one if anything goes missing.
#14 Don’t be a freeloader. If a party you’ll be attending is taking place somewhere where food and drink aren’t normally served, ask your host if there’s anything that you should bring. They’ll likely appreciate the question, as supplying party fare is rarely cheap, but even if they say you can show up hands-free, toting some of your own booze is a good idea so you don’t end up downing all of theirs or disliking the entire selection.
[Read: 12 important dating rules for classy men and women]
Whenever you’re at a party, always keep in mind that there are people around to see your every move. Watch what you say, especially when you’ve been drinking. Staying classy at a party doesn’t have to be hard. All you really need to do to avoid making a scene is to act the way you want other people to act around you.
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