Be the Best Cocktail Party Guest

Casual Cocktails

A cocktail party is the classic social gathering.  At what other time, in a single location, can you find romance sparking, business deals made, and social standing elevated - or plummeted?

But no matter the goings on, there is always one constant: the level of decorum expected from each guest.

It begins with your arrival.  Since cocktail hour isn't a sit-down affair, it is fine to arrive well after it begins, but never early.  A host is usually fine tuning food, drinks, and set-up well into the last minute.  Your early arrival will only escalate the frenzy.

Remember Your Limit

Just because it's a party doesn't mean you can totally cut loose.  Know your drink limit before you arrive.  If you're attending primarily for networking purposes, two drinks is an appropriate maximum.

Over-indulging is a good way to invite trouble to any gathering.  A host's nightmare!

No one wants a drunk guest falling down a staircase, hitting on a VIP, or falling asleep in the onion dip.

If you find yourself sipping a little too hurriedly, switch to water or soda.  No one will know the difference. 

Cocktail Party Boundaries

For some people, cocktails are like truth serum with a permission slip to talk to anyone who will listen. 

Be very careful here!  People remember more than you may think, and you never know which sober guest may overhear you and spread the word.

Keep all cocktail party conversations civil and never divulge anything you wouldn't be willing to place on a billboard.

Also, keep civility intact when mingling:

  • Avoid monopolizing a VIP's time.  If you engage in one-on-one conversation, invite others to join in after a few minutes.
  • Address with respect at all times.  If you call him Mr. Mayor at Chamber of Commerce meetings, don't call him Bill at your neighbor's party.

Time to Leave

If you arrived a bit late to the party, don't assume it's okay to stay late as well.  Unless you are specifically invited to do so by your host.

When guests begin to filter out, it's probably time for you to go, too. 

But no matter what time you leave, thank your host and give a warm smile.

The Best Guest

The best guest on any occasion is mindful, helpful, and cheerful.

She notices when a newcomer needs to be introduced around and is happy to meet the challenge. 

If ice is running low, or the hors d'oeuvre tray needs refilling, he takes care of it.

There is never a lack of good cheer when an ideal guest is in attendance.  Conversation is always positive and smiles abound.


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