Miss Manners

Now that you’re a fancy adult — or becoming one — you’ll find yourself attending gatherings beyond birthday parties with spin-the-bottle. A variety of social events keep you meeting new people and talking to the ones you’re already fond of, instead of becoming a weird loner who watches “Downton Abbey” weekend nights covered in Cheez-It crumbs. But for every kind of party, there is a set of rules. If you want to be invited back, take note of the following. 

Rager/Run-of-the-Mill College Party: The rules for this kind of party are grounded in common sense. You’ll likely not know the host or only have a vague knowledge of him or her. In this case, say “Hey, great party,” then grab a mutual friend and ask them for introductions. But don’t monopolize their time — they have to be a good host and work the room. When moving through a crowd, say “excuse me” — no one likes the person who shoves on their way to the bathroom. If people are rude, brush those haters off. There can be guys/gals that stick to you like glue, looking to score, or realizing you’re the only person they know there. To get rid of them politely, say “Oh my, you’re low on jungle juice, let me grab you a refill,” smile, and walk away. The hanger-on will be too buzzed to notice you never came back and they’ll search for someone else. Parties are for letting loose and enjoying yourself — just don’t drink to the level where your friends carry you home. No one wants to be your mommy. If you do end up being the one who can’t string a sentence together, clinging onto every hoochie in the place as your friends call you a cab with a side of Poland Spring, then you owe them big time. Take them to brunch the next morning for pancakes or return the favor next party. Don’t laugh it off or pretend like it never happened. Although you may not remember much, your new ex-friend is washing puke off of their coat. 

Dinner Party: Before you get to the party, you should look good. Leave the band T-shirts and bandage dresses at home. Wear something you’d wear to work or an internship, but with pizazz. Try higher heels, or a colorful tie — something that makes you feel elegant. After you’re sure you look fly, bring something to your host. It doesn’t have to be extravagant — a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, or something easy to pick up works fine. It lets them know you appreciate their lovely meal. Keep an eye on your alcohol intake. A glass or two of wine is fine with dinner, but no one wants you dancing on the table while they dig into their desserts. After you’ve gone home for the night, send a card within a week thanking your host and telling them how much you loved the pot roast, even if it was dry. 

Office Party:  When you’re at an office function, it’s easy to stick around people you know and gossip about who’s hooking up with whom, but take this opportunity to talk to people you don’t normally socialize with, like the secretary or marketing assistant. Take time to hit up the boss for tips after he/she has a stiff drink. Work the room and be the social butterfly you can’t be when you’re swamped with work. Dress code and alcohol intake are similar to the dinner party standards, if not more conservative — the last thing you want is to be the tipsy coworker revealing overly personal information. These people fill out your progress reports and sign your check, so make sure you keep yourself together.