We all want to walk into a party and have a good time. Some of us are extroverts and have no problem doing this. But, others, a little on the shy side, or introverts, may have a problem opening up to people. With holidays, informal and office party settings, it’s a good time to mix and mingle with co-workers, friends and people we’ve never met before or only briefly.
Looking your best and feeling confident, approach a group of people with a friendly hello, but it’s a good idea - if you want to be invited back -to never say things like this……………
1) Never ask someone in a group how old they are, especially a lady. Her bristling stance and lip pursing should warn you that you shouldn’t have gone there, so don’t make it worse by starting to guess how old she is. Back up and away from the group because you’ve probably caused some heartburn. Yes, you did.
2) Never assume somebody is pregnant because she is wearing a big overblouse and it looks like she is at least six months’ pregnant. Don’t ask when she is expecting and pat her stomach. She may not be. The look in her eyes should give you the hint that she is mortified, so smile nicely and quickly add what a pretty blouse she has on, even if you don’t think it is and it does look like a maternity top. Don’t say that it does look like a maternity top. You’ve said enough.
3) Don’t rub a balding man’s head and say, "Nice hair". That’s like him patting you on your behind and saying ‘Big rear’. These are not good communicating skills. Comment or compliment him on his suit or shoes and if you have to say something, but leave his hair or lack of it alone.
4) Stay away from political discussions even if it is hard for you to stifle yourself. Never ask someone why on earth he or she voted for that ‘dumb idiot.’ A party isn’t the place to show how politically savvy you are. No one wants to hear how you would handle the deficit or what you would offer for health care. Either the crowd will ‘gotta mingle’ and disperse or someone will want to duel you to a shouting match over what you said and the hostess will probably make a note never to invite you again.
5) Same with religion. Jim, who has had half a bottle of vodka most likely, is not in the mood to repent over the filthy joke he just told the hostess’ teenage daughter. It won’t do any good to remind him of the Ten Commandments while he’s adjusting the lampshade over his head. There’s a time and place for serious faith sharing and this isn’t the right time.
6) Don’t ask the hostess where she got her drapes and how much they cost. It’s tacky. Ask her over coffee at another time; not when she’s handing out canapés and doesn’t want to tell you in front of all her guests that she bought them in a thrift shop.
7) Never, never ask anyone how much they make or what their salary is. People would rather tell you all about their sex life instead of divulging their personal info like how much they make. This is taboo and even family members are sometimes reluctant about sharing this with each other. Then people will offer comments and butt in with their views on what things you’re spending too much or too little on. No, no. Don’t go there. It’s none of your business.
#8) Don’t ask a man or woman how much they weigh. Again, folks, especially women, would rather tell you all about their sex life instead of telling you how much they weigh. If they do tell you, notice the rapid eye blinking (sign of fibbing) and deduct 15 or 20 pounds from what they tell you.
9) Don’t bring your cell phone to the party and talk on it all night. You came to a party for Pete’s sake and no one wants to hear you converse with someone else while they’re standing there trying to be sociable. The same goes for texting. Don’t do it. And your blackberry. And iPod. Don’t bring them. Did we cover them all? Leave them home.
10) Don’t gossip at a party. The odds are that someone will know the person you are talking about and it will be twittered and tweeted to 12,539 people who will know a secret that you weren’t suppose to tell anybody. It makes you look like a blabbermouth and others will avoid talking to you about anything other than the weather and how nice the house is decorated.
11) Don’t make flirty eyes at anybody’s boyfriend or girlfriend, especially if you are married. It’s no excuse that you had a bottle and a half of wine and are feeling frisky. It makes people uncomfortable and you could be sporting a black eye or a frosty partner the next day.
12) Don’t announce that you hate cats or dogs if the host’s pet comes into the room. The pet is probably more cherished to them than you are. And never be unkind to the pet or make fun of it. You can bet the pet will be at the next get together and you won’t.
13) Never try to guess who’s older, if two women or two men approach you and ask, "Which one of us is older?" This is a time-bomb question. You can only lose on the answer, but people love to ask this. Just say you’re really bad at guessing ages and if they persist, ask where the bathroom is and jiggle around like you really have to go bad. Same thing applies if two women who resemble each other approach you, never, never say "You're the mother and this is your daughter, right? If they’re sisters, you’re black-balled for the rest of the night.
14) Don’t give a dissertation on your personal life, your woes and problems. Chances are, everyone knows all about them anyway.
15) Never talk about your sex life. It’s really tacky and they probably know about it anyway.
16) Say nothing; practice your listening skills and head-nodding exercises. Say ‘mmmm’; ‘wow’ and ‘awesome’ at intervals. People will love you and invite you back.
© Marie Coppola June 2013