The holiday season is officially here, and one of the best ways to escape the cold, dark, MISERABLE void outside is to wrap up in a lambswool cardigan and cozy in with your closest pals at a cocktail party.
Let the stiff drinks and warm conversation shelter you from the icy roads, crazed Christmas shoppers, and lukewarm political takes lingering on your Facebook news feed. In here, there is nothing but holiday cheer. And should you be fortunate enough to be invited to such an event, here are 14 tips to help you become the perfect party guest.
RSVP. Decide whether you’ll attend, notify the host, and then stick to it. How is the host supposed to accurately estimate the number of cocktail wieners needed with everyone cancelling last minute?
Bring Something to Share like an appetizer, ingredients for a cocktail, or pizza for a late night snack.
Know Where You’re Sleeping. Does the host want you passing out on his sectional? Because you should know this, ideally before leaving your place. Don’t wait until 2AM to discover that you’re the only guest left, you haven’t been invited to stay, and you’re too drunk to drive home. Have a plan, man.
Prepare for Conversation. I find awkward conversation about as cringeworthy as an unrehearsed Maid of Honor speech. So to avoid the agony of long pauses and ‘so…uhhhhhs’, mentally run through the guest list and corresponding conversation topics on the way to the party.
Matt got a new job, so congratulate him on the promotion. Dave just had a kid, so ask how he’s been sleeping. Sarah left Charlie for Todd and all three will be there, so it’s probably best to avoid that trainwreck entirely.
Show Up on Time. Don’t roll up an hour before the party starts. If the host says 7, arrive at 7 or soon after.
Sample the Appetizers. Don’t arrive on the brink of starvation and inhale a dinner’s worth of food. Just sample each app, then compliment whoever made it. Humans love receiving compliments, and flattery makes you likable, so make sure you…
Compliment the Home. For unhandy guys (me), home projects are the very worst thing. Nothing deflates my ego quite like being unable to install, assemble, or hang some shoddy piece of IKEA decor.
However, once I complete a project and it actually looks not terrible, I feel like a god. I will walk 30 steps out of my way just to stare at the creation, hands on my hips, nodding my head with enough approval to ratify the Constitution, gazing upon that SVÄRTAN bookcase like it’s the fuckin statue of David. Breathtaking!
Socialize. With the formalities over, it’s time to get busy. You have accomplishments to exaggerate and buddies to bullshit, and as the booze flows, so does the conversation…among many other things. So as the night starts to get fuzzy, try to remember the following:
Don’t Piss on the Toilet Seat. If you think this goes without saying, then you, my friend, have not recently hosted a cocktail party.
Don’t Barf or Please Barf Responsibly. Hopefully by now you’re familiar with and adhere to your alcohol limits. But if you’re one of THOSE people, then at least barf responsibly. Find a secluded toilet, keep it quiet, then clean it up. Don’t leave bile fossilizing onto the porcelain, and don’t run out front and barf in the rose bushes either. For centuries, the human race has mistakenly believed that barf just permeates into the earth as if it were water. It does not. Barf can linger for months.
Respect Bedtime. If your host is nice enough to let you crash, thank him by getting to bed at a reasonable hour. So instead of staying up to see the sun, or drinking all the half finished beers, or blasting Queen: Rock Montreal, just call it a night.
Don’t Irish Goodbye. When you decide to say goodbye, do it the right way. Don’t slink off and leave everyone wondering where you went. Thank your hosts and give a proper farewell.
Don’t Forget Your Shit. There’s nothing like hosting a party and waking up to thirty abandoned belongings that are now your responsibility. Each item requires that you identify its owner, provide indefinite storage, and then spend a few seconds each day consciously straining over ways in which you can rid it of your possession. Don’t do this to your host. If you bring it with, bring it home.
Have Fun! Now, let’s not get carried away; you can party respectfully and still have a good time. And as much as the host wants to see his toilet seats remain free of vomit and rogue urine, he wants his guests to have fun. So drink your hot toddies and sing your yuletide carols, because it’s the holidays. And even if something does happen, at least it’s not your house.