Dos and Don’ts: 7 Ways to Be The Perfect Party Guest

published Dec 10, 2014
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Are you a good party guest? Here are three party guest habits to avoid — and four to adopt — to ensure you’ll be invited back year after year.


1. Show up right on time.
For most people it’s second nature to show up at least 15 minutes late to a big gathering, but the perpetually punctual may have trouble with this. If you find yourself arriving at party within 15 minutes of the stated start time, nip around the corner for a coffee, or hang out at a bookstore for a bit, or just sit in your car. This will give your host a little breathing room and ensure that you don’t walk in on them doing frantic last minute preparations.

A few exceptions to the rule: dinner parties, where it’s rude to show up more than 15 minutes late. And any party where you know the hostess very well and feel comfortable offering to help out — in that case your punctuality (or even earliness) will probably be welcomed.

2. Bring something that requires a lot of prep.
If you’re bringing something to the party, good on you. But don’t bring something that will require a ton of prep space or kitchen time on the party end. Chances are your host has been cooking all day and counter space in the kitchen is at a premium. If you’re in there chopping things and looking for bowls and knives and whatnot, things can get chaotic.

3. ”Ghost’ without saying goodbye to your host.
You don’t have to make a big deal of announcing your exit to every guest at the party, but you should at least find your host and let them know that you had a lovely time but unfortunately you have to leave. This will keep them from fielding questions about what happened to so-and-so all night long.


1. RSVP.
The art of the RSVP is dead, y’all. The number one gripe I hear from friends who host parties is that people don’t RSVP, or they do and then don’t show up, so it’s almost impossible to tell who is coming to your party and how much food you need. So if you get an invite to a party, and you think you’d like to go, click ‘yes’. Really, it’s not that hard.

2. Offer to bring something.
Chances are good that your host will say you don’t need to bring anything at all, just yourself, but offering anyway is standard party etiquette. It’s also a way to help your hostess defray the cost of the party, which sometimes can run pretty high. And if you are asked to bring something, for gosh sakes, don’t take it home with you at the end of the night (unless your host specifically asks you to).

3. Talk to people you don’t know.
Sure, all your friends are at the party. But these are all people you’ll see again — how are you gonna meet new people if you just stick with your group all the time? Go by yourself to get food or drink — this is a pretty natural time to chat up people you don’t know. Talking to new people is also a HUGE favor to your hostess, who will have to worry less about guests who don’t know a lot of people at the party.

4. Say thanks.
Throwing parties is lots of fun, but it’s also hard work. And when you work hard at something, it’s nice to have somebody else say: hey, thanks. Good job. Traditional etiquette dictates that you send a mailed thank-you note to your host: in modern times, this might seem a little over the top, but thanking your hostess when you leave (and maybe even in an email or text message the next day) will always be appreciated.

Re-edited from a post originally published 12.11.14-NT