I’ve come up with a hypothesis. What if how someone acts at a party is just a microcosm of how they are as a person? Perhaps you don’t need to wonder how your partner would deal with kids or handle any new situation, but maybe just watch to see how they act at the buffet table, and how they chat up people at the bar.
Of course, it goes both ways. So I’ve come up with a few do’s and don’ts to help us ladies (single or not) not only be the perfect party guests, but perhaps better people all around.
Think of others
Ask your friends if they need you to bring anything. If they do, be gracious and leave the leftovers with them. No one likes someone who shows up with a head of lettuce from their CSA, only to take it home when it didn’t make it into the salad. If the host asks you not to bring anything, don’t. But also abide by whatever your host says: Bringing food that isn’t desired puts them in a tricky situation. Do they risk seeming rude by not serving it, when they already have enough? Or do they just add your Jell-O salad to their carefully planned French feast?
I’ll give you a free pass on this one if you’re bringing something else to the party (food or music, say), or it’s potluck. But it is a nice gesture to acknowledge the time and effort it takes to host a party. A hostess gift is just that: a gift for the hostess. Don’t be offended if your friend doesn’t show it off or offer it around at the event. Also, try to tailor your gift to the host. It seems obvious, but I’ve been to more than one event when multiple people showed up with a bottle of wine, but the hosts were nondrinkers.
Don’t be greedy
If you have arrived at a party without eating, and you plan on drinking, by all means hit the food table. However, just make sure you don’t end up hogging all the food. It's just common courtesy for others.
Don’t be a "Sloppy Sally"
We love our wine and cocktails. I understand this. But know when to say “when.” The pretty face you showed up with at the beginning of the party should not resemble that of a raccoon-masked gargoyle at the end of the night.
Don’t be a “Drama Mama”
Okay, this is a big one. If before you leave your house you’re feeling angsty, you’ve just broken up with someone or had a fight with your best friend…stay home. I repeat, stay home. Cocktail consumption has an amazing way of turning bad feelings to good to emotions of nuclear proportions. Save yourself the humiliation, and work it out at home.
Don’t get too friendly with your coworkers
Sure, the point is to have fun. But you want to be able to look these people in the eye on Monday morning. A friend’s (now ex-) girlfriend got pretty chummy with her colleagues at a holiday party, and blamed it on the eggnog. But within a few months, she was already seeing another guy on the side.
Don’t just go
to parties--host your own event occasionally. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I had a friend who would constantly angle for dinner invites at our house, but never invited us over to her house or even out for dinner at a restaurant or an event. Needless to say, we aren’t friends any more.
And above all, remember: The fact that it happened at a party doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!