Etiquette guide for being a party guest
To have success in the jet-set world and become socially accepted, you must adapt to the social rules of this society and act accordingly. I have previously written about the basics of etiquette and etiquette for fine dining.
Today I want to bring up the etiquette of being a party guest. I assume many of you socialize, if not regularly, then perhaps from time to time. If you want to become a JetsetBabe, it’s important to attend social functions as this is how you get your foot into the jet-set world, because contacts are what will open up the doors for you! But to grow a favorable reputation that will give you plenty of advantages, one has to be on best behavior when socializing. This is why etiquette is essential in the jet-set world, and this list will give you the 13 must have etiquette rules when attending a party so that people remember you and invite you back.
1. If you receive an invite, you MUST RSVP
Nothing is ruder than “forgetting” to RSVP when you receive an invite. You save the host a headache of chasing the people down about whether they are coming or not. Good etiquette is to respond when you receive the invite. If you are unsure if you can make it, let the organizer know when you will have a response. Don’t be the one who takes her time to respond because she first wants to see if anything better comes along on that day. It’s insulting to the host.
The same goes for asking, “Who is invited” before deciding if you are planning to come. If you must decline, do it neutrally without explaining yourself. A simple “I’m afraid I can’t make it this time” is more than enough.
2. Don’t cancel last minute
If you have told someone you will attend, you don’t change your plans last minute unless it’s a life or death situation (or you got ill). Dropping out because “you don’t feel like, you’re too tired or have so much work to do “ etc, is bad manners and people of this kind should not expect getting invited back in the future.
3. Always ask before bringing a guest
Depending on the party, some invites state that you can bring a plus one, and you would therefore not need to ask beforehand; you just state in your RSVP that it will be you + 1. Some events are too intimate for extra guests, where you would have to evaluate if it’s appropriate to ask the host about adding a guest to your invite.
4. Don’t come empty-handed
This rule is for when you are invited to someone’s house. Always bring something small that shows “Thank you for inviting me”, it can be a bottle of wine, flowers, chocolates – anything that is simple but thoughtful. If you are invited to a birthday, depending on how well you know the person, you should always bring a gift even if it’s something small that doesn’t cost very much. At weddings, all guests bring gifts, depending on what was requested by the bride and groom.
5. Dress accordingly
On most invites, there will be a dress code written. On other less formal invites, there might not be anything written, and that’s when it’s okay to ask the host if you’re unsure how dressy the event will be. What is important to bear in mind is that you must make some effort with your clothes, as it shows the host respect and appreciation. If it’s a themed costume party and you are not wearing a costume, it signals extreme rudeness and pure ignorance from your end.
6. Be 10-15 minute late
I am an advocate of being on time, but when you get an invite either to someone’s house, a good rule of thumb is to arrive 10 minutes later than what’s stated on the invite. It’s like being on time, but instead, you are giving the host some room for last minute preparations by arriving just after the official time. If you are more than 20-30 minutes late, that’s when it’s starting to become rude, so keep yourself to the 10-15 minute mark as much as possible. If you have poor time management skills in general, ignore this advice as it won’t apply to you.
7. First thing you do when you arrive; Thank the host
The first thing anyone has to do upon arrival, is to find the host and thank them for inviting. If it’s a bigger party, it can be hard finding the host, but you must look that person up before participating in the event. The same rule goes before leaving; you must at always say goodbye, even if it means making a significant effort in finding someone. A simple “Tell X I left and thank her for having me” is not appropriate.
8. Keep your phone on silent at all times
Very important if you are invited to someone’s house, and it’s an intimate affair where the host has made a lot of effort in entertaining, your phone should not be visible or disturb with its noises at any times. Neither should you be texting at the dinner table or taking phone calls while others are present in the room. If it’s important, check your phone discretely from time to time (bathroom breaks are made for this) and if you need to take a call, make sure to go in a room where nobody needs to be disturbed by your conversation. Keep your smartphone activities as silent as possible; this is to implement in any public and social situations.
9. Invite wallflowers to your conversation
When you mingle at parties, you will notice there is always someone who is on their own and takes the role of being the wallflower. It’s of good etiquette to include these wallflowers in conversation whenever possible and be inviting so that nobody has to feel left out and stay on their own for too long.
10. Be interested in people when they are talking
When you are talking to a person, whether someone you know or a complete stranger, you must always act with full focus and concentration. Be friendly and genuine, don’t be rude and look around the room while someone is telling you a story. You should not be doing anything else at that moment than looking at your counterpart and engage in the conversation.
11. Stay drama-free at all times, no matter who started first!
If you’re depressed, stay home. Don’t bring negative energy into a social setting, and if you can’t change your mood at least don’t go around and talking about it. Same goes for having a conflict, resolving one or be bad mouthing someone (especially if they are attending the party). You show bad manners and disrespect to the host if you use his/her occasion as an outlet for your personal drama. You might say: “But she started…” No, in this case, there are no excuses. Classy women don’t misbehave in the eye of the public, and they never do it on account of someone’s party.
12. Don’t attend a dinner starving
If you’re invited for dinner, you should never arrive feeling like you are dying from hunger because you “haven’t eaten anything all day”. It’s not classy when you’re stomach is making noise, you become impatient because you need food, and once the food is in front of you, you devour it in a rushed manner. Have a snack before the event so that you can keep your blood sugar steady for the next coming hours. If you by any reason have a particular diet, or you know yourself being a picky eater – eat dinner at home beforehand as there might not be any food suitable for you and it’s not appropriate making a fuss about it.
13. Know when to leave
Spare your host a dilemma of how to kick you (and the others) out by reading the vibe of the party and know when is the right time to leave.
This is a very good sign of social etiquette. You don’t want to be the last person leaving or leave offensively early. Find a middle ground and stick to the principle of “leave the party at its best.”
And like I just mentioned, don’t forget to thank the host for inviting. Send them a thank you note or email/message the next one to two days to properly thank them for having you, and don’t forget to mention how much fun you had, even if not entirely true.
This text was a shortened sample from my book “How to be classy”, where I cover more detailed information on manners and etiquette for women who want to polish their poise and become more refined versions of themselves. If you are interested in learning more about elegant behavior, here you can find more information about my book.