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Party 101: Dos & Donts for Guests

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2009 at 1:10 am

October, November & December are typically loaded with parties. They come with big festivals such as Diwali, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But we don’t need occasions to party & meet people. Socializing is a common part of our lives. Summer comes loaded with BBQ parties for instance. There are tons of websites and TV programs that give inputs on setting up your space for party, cooking food, etc. But I haven’t come across a good comprehensive list of things to do and not to do. So, here’s my take for guests. Hosts can find their list here. I’d love to hear from you about things that worked well & didn’t work well in other parties.

If you are the guest:

  1. Don’t assume your hosts drink & take a wine bottle. There are some teetotalers.
  2. Bring a decent gift even. The host is taking a lot of effort to make your get together memorable. Gifts don’t have to be pricey, they just have to be thoughtful.
  3. Don’t be more than 30 mins late. If there are other guests to the party, they cannot start eating until you show up.
  4. For an office party, don’t be more than 15 mins late.
  5. An office party is not a place to get drunk and let lose. Limit your alcohol intake & focus on socializing, not drinking.
  6. Do not dwell into minute details of specific topics for a long time. The audience may lose interest.
  7. Don’t dig your heels on arguing about a particular topic like you’ve done a PhD about it. Others may lose interest and find you dry. The only exceptions may be when the entire guest list comprises of people with similar background and they are interested in shoptalk.
  8. Have some sense of humor. Dry matter of fact talk can be boring. Keep in mind that people get together to have a good time. You can improve your sense of humor by watching comedies.
  9. Be current with the news. Something major can be used as an icebreaker when you meet someone new.
  10. Know funny things that are a part of the local culture. For example in the US, Sports, Seinfeld, Friends, Lost, The Office, etc make a good conversation topic.
  11. If you don’t know something, don’t make it up. Ask about it & show interest. People like to share because they showcase how much they know.
  12. Don’t ask the guest to turn on your favorite TV show or music. You are there to meet people, not to watch TV. Plus, you will be distracting other guests in the party. One of the guests asked the party to turn on the sports game. The host also got hooked into it and soon the two were in their world. This left the other guests bored. The only exception is when the gathering is for a game night or a movie night.
  13. Snack a little before going to someone’s place. You never know when the food will be served. If you are hungry, then you cannot focus. Also, pre-emptive snacking means you wont be clearing up the entire bowl yourself at the party.
  14. Offer to help if the guest is preparing something. When many people show up at the same time, the guest may need help with getting drinks to everyone. They may also need help with setting the table or plates.
  15. Don’t hang around the food and the bar all the time. Take time to share your experiences with your hosts and listen to their experiences as well. Be engaging.
  16. Often times, simple questions like what is your job role can make them at ease & help you to learn new things.
  17. Do not touch their things without asking. Just observe from a distance. Some items may be sentimentally valuable to the guests and despite your best intention you may damage the item.
  18. Don’t say anything negative about your host or any other guests. If there is another guest you don’t like at the party, exchange niceties and excuse to get a drink.
  19. Don’t complain to the host. In one of the parties that I attended, the guest complained to the host that the cook hasn’t made her food yet. She was upset & the host had to prioritize her order over that of the other guests.
  20. If you take your kids with you, take things with you to keep them entertained. Perhaps their favorite book or a drawing kit or something.
  21. Make sure your kids are well behaved. If you are doubtful, you may be better off hiring a babysitter. Kids that bang the door and cabinets or damage the house are putting the host in a tough spot. They have to be nice to you because you are guest. At the same time, their property is encountering a damage. Put yourself in their shoes.
  22. Say something nice to the host even if you had the worst experience. Their intention is to meet with you & help you have a good time. They may have goofed up the execution. But be kind and complimentary.
  23. If you have been invited to their place more than once and you’ve never hosted them, set up a time to meet with them at your place. If you don’t care so much about them to invite them to your parties, then decline their invites politely. They will understand. If you attend their parties but you don’t invite them, its just a matter of time before you stop getting their invitations.
  24. If it is a networking event, don’t be tied to one person you meet. Work your way in the room to meet others.
  25. Though I haven’t done this myself yet, carry your cards with you. It can be as simple as your name, email ID, and phone number. It doesn’t have to be your professional business card. Often times in a networking event, we meet many people. But it is difficult to get their coordinates given the settings. There are plenty of sites online to get your cards for under 10 bucks.
  26. Dress for the occasion.
  27. After the event, send a thank you note to the host for taking the effort to organize the party & telling them about how your time was well spent. As a host, this is assuring to know that the guests had a good time.

Social gatherings are a great way to get to know people, relax, and have fun. With some thought, preparation, and planning you can make the most out of it. Have fun.

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  1. […] things to do and not to do. So, here’s my take if you are a host. Guests can find their list here. I’d love to hear from you about things that worked well & didn’t work well in […]

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