With less pressure than a date but more formality than take-out dinner with friends, parties are perhaps the greatest of all social engagements. Even if you don’t care about being the perfect party guest, you definitely don’t want to be the worst. Follow these six tips to make your evening the right kind of memorable.
Actually RSVP “Yes” on Facebook
Or on Paperless Post with an actual letter, or via a group text message—whatever platform you were invited on is the one you should send back a solid RSVP no matter what. Using the same platform lets the host easily keep track of who is coming, and an actual “yes” or “no” answer keeps them from stressing out over whether or not they have enough snacks to feed all those non-committal invitees who hit the “Interested” button.
Ask if they want you to bring anything specific
Most hosts will immediately and instinctively tell you not to bring anything, but do earnestly double-check with them. If they’re insistent that it’s all covered, you’re off the hook.
If you still want to bring something, make sure it’s not something they’ve already stocked up on. There’s totally such a thing as too much Chex Mix.
Regardless, bring some decent alcohol
This could be expanded to “bring a gift,” but most hosts (who spent all day prepping their faces off yet still plan to drink the cheap BYOB everyone else is bringing) will appreciate a nicer bottle of wine or some brand-name liquor and that artisanal soda mixer you always sort-of wanted an excuse to buy.
If the host doesn’t drink, some sweet carb-y goodness from your favorite neighborhood bakery or a cheap bouquet of flowers are two party gifts that brighten up almost any occasion, from the classiest to least classy of shindigs.
Talk to people who don’t know anyone else
It’s obviously really comfortable to stand in a corner and talk to your friends all night, but striking up a conversation with a stranger is the best way to help make a party fun for everyone (and more fun for you, too). Plus, it’ll be a huge weight off the host’s shoulders whose big job of the night is to make sure even their quietest friends are comfortable.
Nervous? Don’t be! The best conversation trick is just asking a million questions about the other person and actually listening. People are pretty much guaranteed to love talking about themselves, especially when they’re drunk. Which leads us to …
Don’t get TOO drunk
Parties are the best spaces for getting delightfully tipsy: The booze is free or cheap, the space is comfortable and safe, and you’re probably with a bunch of friends (or future friends!) who will respect your vibe.
However, getting too drunk isn’t a good look. Your wild, take-over-the-party antics are probably only fun for you, and might be embarrassing for the host (and yourself, once you sober up in the morning). Those lowered inhibitions and poor reaction times mean you’re more likely to do things you otherwise wouldn’t, whether accidentally (like breaking a glass) or not (like trying to make out with your friend’s neighbor). Basically, be at least a little in control of yourself, for everyone’s sake.
If you ghost the party, don’t ghost the host
After an evening of talking with old friends and making new ones, saying heartfelt goodbyes to everyone can be pretty draining. Is nothing more of a relief than a good Irish goodbye?
Opinions vary on the validity of ghosting a party, but we think it’s OK at the obvious end of the night—as long as you say goodbye to the host! Let them know you’re grateful for the time, money, and emotional labor they undoubtedly put into the evening. Tell them how you had a fabulous time and you can’t wait to repay the favor. Then go home and get into bed.
Why ruin the evening with many awkward goodbyes? Your friends will be more focused on their own escape plan than noticing that you slipped out silently.