Welcome to Miss Sanchez’s Dos and Don’ts in which I tell you some basic rules on how to act like a human, and then you decide to either act like said human or let the darkness overcome you (for you are the one who was prophesied — the evil one with the 666 birthmark who has the power to summon the four horsemen of the apocalypse by taking your socks off on an airplane or tipping eight percent). And look, I don’t care either way. It’s your choice if you want to have a nice time at a party or arrive too early— thus bringing about a fiery sinkhole that will open in the middle of your friend Omar’s living room, swallowing up you and everyone you love.
Personally, I think all that sounds unpleasant — hence these rules. Plus you might not be invited to any more parties. Fiery sinkholes are a big faux pas at parties. That’s like, the number one rule: Don’t cause a Hell portal sinkhole. Without further preamble, these are the dos and don’ts of partying without being a jerk.*
*You can argue with me in the comments, but I want to be clear that my ability to respond solely in 1990s cartoon Disney song lyrics is literally endless. And I will make it a part of your world.
1. DO RSVP.
Who knows whether you can go to the party your coworker is throwing. You have a lot of things going on, other parties, fancy premieres, last minute calls from the president saying that your arch nemesis has taken a bus of schoolchildren hostage again and you’re the only one who can save them — you just don’t want to commit to anything without knowing the flow of the evening, you know?
Why you should send a quick email response:
Whether you’re going to a small gathering with close friends or the rager of the century, it’s just polite to shoot a response back (within a few days of the event) letting the host know that you plan on making it. It helps them know about how many people to get drinks and food for and also if you were a pity invite, it gives them the chance to throw a separate party upstairs with holograms just for you while the real party goes on in the basement with a speakeasy-like password. They need to prepare, friend. Inventing holograms takes time.
We get it, things come up, and you might not be able to make it, but for the most part, if you have no idea 48 hours out if you could POSSIBLY stop by, you may want to think about getting your life together a little bit.
2. DON’T arrive early.
You just happen to be in the neighborhood! Traffic was light or, you know, you were hiding in the bushes outside. Might as well go in! You’re only 20 minutes early, right?
Why you should stop at that good taco place nearby to stall:
Look, in an ideal world all of us would have the house clean all the time and an hour before start time, we’d be sitting on the couch with a glass of champagne while our staff prepares the appetizers and our personal masseuse rubs our feet. But the reality is that, for many of us, an hour before the party, we’re cleaning the toilet and trying to cut up some cheese and also, brushing our teeth — hopefully not all at once, but no judgment. It’s rude to show up early and make the host now have to panic about having to entertain you. And also, that they had to open the door without having had the chance to put on their human suit yet. Nobody wants an acquaintance to see them with tentacles
A good rule of thumb is to give the party thrower at least a 15 minute grace period before showing up. If you have literally nowhere else to go, text or call to ask them if it would be okay if you came a few minutes early at least two hours ahead of time so they can adjust. Otherwise, after I answer the door, you’re going end up in my bedroom, sitting on a pile of clean laundry that I will literally never put away, and watching me strip naked, chug a glass of stress wine, and wrestle myself into a strapless bra and Spanx with one hand while also trying to get eyeliner on with the other and saying things like, “No it’s fine haha! So glad you’re here!” Which has happened RECENTLY.
And you deserve better than that. We all do.
3. DO bring something to contribute.
“I mean,” you think, “the invite said the only gift needed is your presence.” And besides, you’re an excellent gift! Have they SEEN your mad convo skills? You kill that shit. You know so many facts. All the facts. Janet on The Good Place was based on your fact knowing skills.
Why you should stop at a liquor store on the way:
No one in the history of the universe has ever hated you for bringing them some sort of alcohol contribution or plate of cookies. No one. It’s rude not to. The end.
Important note: Unless someone has specifically asked you to bring a crappy beer for drinking games go for a medium tier beer or wine. Don’t show up with two buck chuck and shout for them to get out the crystal wine goblets, please. When in doubt, and poor, go for something around 12-15 dollars, it’s unlikely to be the worst thing everyone’s ever tasted. Which is a reasonable bar to aim for.
4. DON’T argue with the house rules.
When you get to the party you’re asked to take off your shoes and then go outside and find the highest tree of trees and throw them upon it while screaming, “shoes are just a construct of our oppressive society!! It’s time to be freeeeeeee.”
“We have a baby and so we don’t want the dirt of societal restraints all over the floor,” your hosts say with a patronizing smile.
Why you should just take off your shoes:
It’s the worst when someone asks you to remove your shoes, I get it. They should probably not have a party at all and also, be forcibly removed from society by a van filled with mysterious government officials who take them to a dystopian brain-washing facility until they learn to either stop asking people to do that or that they really do love Big Brother after all. However, you are in their home. And giving someone attitude or annoyance because they’ve asked you to be respectful of their boundaries is rude AF.
If what they are asking is so egregious or annoying that you feel like it’s not even worth being there, then don’t come to the next party they throw. Otherwise, take off your shoes, don’t bring your kids or dog, respect that they don’t allow brown m & m’s in their home and go get yourself a healthy pour of something. It’s their thing and making your host feel bad is a crappy way to start any event.
5. DO read the room on the level of partying you should do.
You had an insane terrible week at work. Your house burned down, your dog died, and someone said the word “moist” in your general vicinity. And now, IT’S TIME TO GET LIT. Because in the words of Rebecca Black, it’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.
Why you should maybe cool it:
This is one of those “learn to read social cues” scenarios. If this is the kind of crowd that’s sipping on one or two chardonnays all night, you do NOT want to be the one chugging tequila shots and asking everyone if they’ve ever thought about a three-way with you. They’ll be embarrassed; you’ll be embarrassed. And you’ll never be able to show your face at your grandmother’s senior citizen bridge club again.
If you’re at a party that’s super low key and you want a crazy night, don’t stay. Have one drink and then head out to greener (more raging) pastures.
But hey, if you arrive and everyone has been partying for three hours and are drinking out of red solo cups, dancing, and a random acquaintance grabs your hand when you get there just to tell you, “I need you to know I love you. You’re just the best and I never get to tell you that. I love you so much. You’re so pretty. Do you know how pretty you are?” and you’re like, “Wow, those are some strong feelings for someone I was introduced to briefly at a birthday dinner three years” —it’s safe to say the sky’s the limit. Do some shots to catch up, play some beer pong, make some bad decisions. Just don’t drive, don’t drink to the point of getting sick, and never buy the nicest house on the block and/or be the DRUNKEST person in the room.
These are rules to live by.
6. DON’T be a party pooper.
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The invite said it’s a “1920s speakeasy party and you should dress the part and also, bring a poem to share with the group and prepare six to eight musical numbers with full choreography”.
Why you should really dress up:
Sometimes a themed (or activity) based party sounds dumb, but again, if it does, don’t go! But here’s the thing, you are not the King or Queen of determining fun and it’s lame to go to a party with specific instructions and not join in or make other people feel lame for embracing silly things with earnestness. And hey, you might find out that when you dress the part and put on the fairy wings and glitter or prepare a musical act, that it’s really fun when everyone is in on it together. Being passionate about things without the self-consciousness of judgment is a way better time when you’re partying than coming to a 60s party in jeans and a t-shirt and standing in a corner making snide comments.
7. DO check back in with your plus one.
You brought this person you’re dating to your college friend’s huge party. You haven’t seen some of these people forever! Everybody’s cool. You’ll just grab your cute date a drink and then go chat with a few people. You’ll run back into them later.
Why you should keep track of your friend:
If you brought a date or a friend, you need to make them comfortable. Or, if it’s a situation where you know you’ll be tipsy and wandering from person to person all night, maybe go alone. Because yeah, in an ideal world, you’re both equally comfortable and you and your significant other can float around alone happily chatting with people. But the reality is…most of the time either you or the other person is better friends with a particular group. And it’s selfish to bring someone to an event and then ignore them.
Plus, everyone appreciates some regular check-ins. Show that you care if they’re still having fun. You want to make sure they aren’t stuck in a bad convo with a random guy you’ve never seen, or bored, or that they didn’t get lost on the way to the bathroom, open a door, and fall into a magical realm where they’re being hunted by a mythical beast. Plus ones HATE being hunted by mythical beasts. And, at the very least, you’ll get serious brownie points with any partner if you call them over because you’re bragging about something cool they’ve accomplished or for a quick kiss and a whisper of how hot they look tonight.
And remember: You are responsible for guests you bring. So if said date or friend is Johnny Goodtimes and gets wasted at your friend’s house and starts vomiting into their houseplants, it’s your job to usher them out the door and then offer to clean up those house plants. Because while yes, they are responsible for their actions, you brought someone shitty to a party and it’s certainly not the host’s job to deal with that.
8. DON’T ask twice if someone needs a drink.
You’re just being friendly! Sure, they said no ten minutes ago to a beer, but maybe they want one now? They can’t seriously be having fun at a party without drinking, can they? They probably just want to be convinced.
Why you should leave it alone:
You have no idea why they said no to a drink, they may be the designated driver tonight, they may have an early work day tomorrow, they may be a recovering drug addict and don’t want to share that with you, they may be pregnant and not announcing it yet, they may think you’re creepy as all hell and don’t want to drink with you. The point is, it doesn’t matter their reason. If someone says no to you getting them a drink and is a reasonably capable adult, they will go get one themselves if they want to. So, for God’s sake, do not badger them about it. I’ve seen men continually ask women if they wanted more drinks after repeated nos, and I cannot tell you how rape-y that seems. It’s also most likely a reflection of your own insecurities. So respect everyone’s boundaries and don’t do it.
9. DO Leave your leftovers
You brought your grandma’s dope-ass meatballs to the party in a dish that has been paper mache-ed with that painting Banksy shredded at the auction. It is worth literally millions of dollars so…you’re gonna need that back when you go. Plus, you can eat the meatballs for a bed snack later.
Why you now have to leave that million dollar art treasure there:
It is rude to not leave food or drinks you brought unless the host insists you take it home because they “don’t have the room in the fridge” (meaning: your cupcakes taste like dirt). As such, you should never bring food in a dish that you aren’t fine with never seeing again. Yeah, probably at some point, you’ll see that friend again and they will return the dish it came out of. But two things: One, it could get lost or broken and putting that responsibility on your friend to guard something of yours after a large event is annoying. And two, insisting they pack up your leftovers when they’re having a good time or saying goodbye and washing your stuff in their sink can be rude. So, if your dish has been emptied, go ahead and take it. If not, offer to help with clean up. If they say no, assume you will never see your gold-plated antique dish again, and consider it a bonus if it turns back up.
10. DO Irish Goodbye at a huge party
You have had a lot of libations and you just want to jump in a Lyft and go home before you keep drinking and throw up. Or you just met the love of your life and need to get back to one of your places to hook up. Right Now.
Why it’s fine not say goodbye:
It’s really the best way to leave. Sure, there’s a host or whatever. But….you said hello. You chatted (I mean hopefully you did not completely ignore the person throwing the party — DON’T do that), so now you can just peace out. Sometimes it’s actually ruder to interrupt your friend’s convo to say goodbye. Plus, once you’ve inserted yourself to say that goodbye you might have to like chat for another five minutes and again, you’re in a “might throw up” or “found a sex friend” situation and those five minutes are going to be five minutes too long. Because IF YOU HAD MORE TO SAY TO THEM YOU WOULDN’T BE LEAVING. It’s perfectly acceptable to slip off and then shoot the host a text thanking them for the great time (which also lets them know you got home safely).
In general, a follow-up call, text, email, Instagram post telling the host how much they rule for throwing an awesome party is a universal DO.