While we at The B Tribe eschew convention, there is no escaping the niggling feeling you’re not getting invited because, frankly, you’re a terrible guest. So we decided to help you out and point fingers at some common socialising boo-boos.
Nobody is perfect; therefore it is unreasonable to expect anyone to be the perfect party guest. But there are a few things you can do to avoid being the nightmare guest, and therefore at the very least ensure that, in the season of socialising, you aren’t left alone with just your pyjamas and late-night reruns on the telly for company. For the entire year.
- Their Royal Latenesses: This is the person who constantly arrives ‘fashionably late’. Blissfully unaware that the correct term is ‘Annoyingly Late All The Time’, this specimen of the Nightmare Attendee only ever really puts a spanner in sit-down dinner plans, such as reunions or family gatherings. The only suitable punitive treatment here is to make sure the food is finished before they arrive.
Like the unspoken Dinner Party Rules state, “Food is not meant to go cold waiting for Their Royal Latenesses to arrive.” It smacks of disregard and borderline disrespect.
And you cannot blame traffic. Ever. It’s lame and unoriginal.
2. The Aloof Unapproachable or Insular Snob: Don’t be the guest that never says ‘Hello’ to anyone else at a party but to the ones they’re previously familiar with. You don’t even have to say ‘hello’ sometimes. A smile and a little nod will suffice in some cases. You are there to mingle, not occupy the same spot on the sofa for the entire duration of the party until a visible dent is left in the seat. Your next friend is just a greeting away. Leave the shyness at home. Also, if you only ever engage in conversation at a party with your colleagues, associates, family members or your best friends, you are missing out on the chance to disprove the other guests’ perception or misconception that you are an aloof, unapproachable snob.
Similarly, don’t go to a party if you’ve had a bad day or a prolonged bad mood and have no intention but to marinate in it further. Everyone has bad days, but that’s what good days, happy gatherings and parties are for: to offset the lasting effect of bad days. Boy and Girl Grumpus’ rarely get repeat invitations.
3. The Cheap Guest: Invited to a pot luck party? Don’t be the one to bring the cheap, plastic pre-packaged salad devoid of dressing. It speaks of a complete lack of imagination. If you can’t cook something, buy something from the deli or restaurant, pack it in your own crockery and bring that. This form of a little white lie is more acceptable than showing that you’ve put absolutely no effort whatsoever.
4. The Sniffer: Don’t be the one to pick up a canapé from the buffet spread, sniff it (we can all see you, you know) and gingerly put it back down. (Gross, bro.)
It doesn’t matter that you have sanitised your hands with copious dollops of disinfectant gel beforehand. Either use the utensils provided, or make up your mind beforehand whether you really want that olive-cheese-pineapple on-a-toothpick.
The buffet spread is for all invited, not just for picky eaters like yourself. If you feel the need to inspect every morsel of food beforehand that includes the highly-unacceptable practice of sniffing said morsels, you should either open your own eatery or stay home and cook.
5. The Loud Narcissist: Don’t be the loud one that never allows anyone else to get a word in edgeways. Not only is this incredibly narcissistic, but not every word that leaves your mouth is the most fascinating thing ever to have been uttered in the history of the world. I’m sorry to break it to you, but it’s not.
6. The Never-Pays: Don’t be the guest that never pays for anything when a group of friends get together to socialise. If you can afford a French luxury handbag and a German marque car that costs more than what the average worker earns in a year, you can afford to take out your wallet and offer to split the bill over dinner or karaoke.
7. The Empty-Handed: Hosts like it when you bring a lil’ sumting. It’s human nature, get over it. In a house party setting, this means a bouquet of flowers, a small thoughtful gift (if you know what your host likes) or a bottle of their favourite tipple. These can go a long way in making you memorable. Coming empty-handed is just in poor taste. It also screams ‘sponger’. Or entitled, whichever. Sorry, we meant ‘forgetful’ and self-absorbed.
8. The Scanner: Don’t be the guest constantly looking over the shoulder of the person with whom you’re conversing, to see ‘who else is coming’. Even if the most handsome President of the United States were attending, or if Mr and Mrs Pitt dropped in on impulse, this is no excuse to not pay attention to the person with whom you’re engaged in witty repartee.
Unless, of course, the repartee is anything but witty. In this instance, you are allowed to murmur your ‘Excuse me, I think nature calls,’ with the most gracious smile you can muster (pretend you’re in a beauty pageant – that might help) and step away. Nobody likes to be made to feel like you’re only hanging with them until something better comes along. There is no such thing as second fiddle at a party.
9. The Screen-Starer: And speaking of fiddling. Whether you are with friends, family or associates at a not-shabby venue, or at a house party or a year-end function: paying more attention to your handheld device, than to the face-to-face interactions, is downright rude. There is no more social a network than the one in which you are invited to, so put the other digital social networks down for just a nanosecond and remember what it’s like to speak in sound-bites that exceed 140 characters or do not sound like status updates. Relish the chance to be with people that resemble real life people, and not avatars or heavily-filtered profile photos. See people in all their Technicolor 3D glory, in the flesh. You’d be surprised how much more interesting they seem with all the nuances of expressions and energy. This is better than any digital 3D experience, because digital life or virtual reality doesn’t have that awesome natural thing called ‘touch.’
The same applies to work matters. Unless you are the head of a nation on the brink of catastrophe, there is no matter that cannot be left unattended for a few hours while you in the thick of socialising. Put the phone on vibrating mode. Because not everyone appreciates your eardrum-shattering 80-decibel ringtone paying homage to Metallica’s guitar solos.
10. The Utterly Tactless: There are certain verbal minefields to be avoided at social gatherings. A 90-minute exposition of your colonic surgery complete with minute detail would be one. Ditto the many benefits of pulverised maggots, earthworms or leeches or something Discovery channel would cover on Monsters Inside Me. (Like the oblivious man who sat next to me while I was eating and he related a story about him barfing on a plane. Classy.) If it is a subject you would never bring up on a first date with an incredibly attractive person you want to continue seeing, then don’t bring it up at a party.