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How to be a Good Party Guest

By: Laura Farrant - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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How many parties do we attend each year? The chances are that we all attend a few, be they work events or social occasions. As the guest it is tempting to feel like you do not have any responsibility for the event but if you want to be the person constantly invited back for the next party, pay attention to the following tips.

RSVP and them some

We all like to receive invitations to events. When you do, the cardinal rule is to RSVP. RSVP in the manner that you received the invitation. If it was by email, confirm by email. If it was in a formal card, mailed to your home address, confirm in the same way. However you do it you must make sure that you do so in a timely manner. Casually turning up on the day is not acceptable unless you know the host extremely well. In most cases the chances are that they would have planned knowing the exact number of guests attending so make sure that your RSVP goes out ASAP to avoid embarrassment or awkwardness.

If you are attending a dinner party, don't be afraid of asking your host if you can help. This might involve assisting with the setup of the table or by bringing a dessert along with you. They may appreciate your help and happily take you up on your offer. Alternatively they may decline having planned a very specific menu or themed event. Don't be offended if the host turns you down. Put your effort into choosing a good bottle of wine that you and your host can enjoy, either on the night itself or at their leisure.

The art of conversation

Do your bit and make friendly conversation with the other guests. Resist the temptation to stand back in silence. Even if you are not a particularly confident or outgoing person, try to join in. If all else fails just ask the other guests questions about themselves. It is true that people really do like talking about their own lives and you may find out that you have something in common with them this way. Of course, such questions should not delve too deeply into controversial areas like religion, politics or sex. Banter is fine, full-blown heated arguments are not, so resist going down this route.

Be responsible

Whether it's a dinner party, a drinks party or a work do, the chances are that alcohol will be present. At many events you are expected to partake of this and if you wish to do so, go ahead. But remember that unless you are with your dearest friends, you will have your limits. At a work do this rule is particularly important. Everyone will remember "that employee" who told the Chairman what he or she could do with his job. Don't let that employee be you. Have a drink, have two, but you would be wise to end it there. At a more relaxed event it's still important to marry every alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic one. Nobody wants to be the awkward drunken guest who is not able to hold his or her drink. It brings the tone of an event down and you could do something you will always regret.

Keep your eyes open

If this is the host's first party, they may be stressed. If you see signs of them frantically cleaning or stressing out, take note and offer to help. If they say "no thanks" then relax. You have played the role of the polite guest and offered your help and they have declined, having it all under control.

The key when attending any party is to remember what your mother told you. Show respect to your host, to the guests and most of all to yourself. Drink within your limits, try to avoid any conversation clangers and offer your help to your host. Follow these simple rules and you will be an exemplary guest, well deserving of a return invitation.

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