It’s surprising how many people don’t know proper party etiquette. Whether you’re attending a colleague’s dinner party or a good friend’s cocktail shindig, there are some universal rules everyone should follow. Read on to learn the surefire signs that you’re a terrible party guest.
1. You show up early
Nobody shows up early. Unless you’ve spoken to the host about coming early to help set up, don’t do it. Don’t even surprise them by coming early to help set up. Even though your intentions are in the right place, they’ll still feel the need to entertain you.
2. You bring uninvited guests
If it’s not blatantly stated that you can bring a plus-one, you have to ask. A good way to give your host an out is by asking, “Is it alright if I bring so-and-so along, or are you trying to keep things on the small side?” That way, instead of just saying your plus-one isn’t welcome, they can simply say they’re trying to keep the party small.
3. You don’t introduce people
If you’re really bad at introducing people, you might not get invited to the host’s next shindig. If you’re talking to two people who don’t know each other and fail to introduce them, you come off as forgetful (maybe you forgot one of their names) and a little cold. It’s just a nice, mature gesture to make sure everyone knows each other, especially if you’re the mutual friend for quite a few people at the party.
4. You keep to yourself
Everyone has antisocial evenings every now and then, but if you consistently show up to parties and don’t talk to anyone, your host is probably going to assume you don’t want to be there. Or, worse, they’ll feel responsible for you the whole night, and that’s the last problem a host needs. Even if you don’t know many people there, ask the friends you do know for introductions — and take the opportunity to make some new friends.
5. You don’t offer to bring something
Even if it’s not a dinner party, it’s polite at least to offer to bring something. If the host is emphatic about not bringing anything because there’s a theme they’re trying to stick to or someone has food allergies, then don’t bring anything. But if they say, “Oh you don’t need to bring anything!” then it’s safe to at least bring a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine.
6. You bring something with a lot of prep work
Don’t bring anything that requires an extensive amount of prep work. If you can’t have it mostly ready by the time you get to the party, don’t bring it. “Chances are your host has been cooking all day and counter space in the kitchen is at a premium,” says Apartment Therapy. “If you’re in there chopping things and looking for bowls and knives and whatnot, things can get chaotic.”
7. You’re the last one to leave
It’s one thing if you’re best friends with the host, and you’ve already established you’re going to stay after everyone leaves to help clean up. But if you just don’t want to leave because you don’t want the night to end, chances are you’re not getting an invitation back. Typically the last handful of people at a party will all leave at the same time. When it’s getting to the end of the night, take cues from everyone else who’s still there on when to head home.
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