Party guest etiquette may look different than it did back in the day (we’ll leave all that turn-of-the-century party protocol to the Downton Abbey dining room), but that doesn’t mean guests shouldn’t be on their best behavior. What exactly does that mean, though? It can mean different things to different people—some guests never show up empty handed, while others will always take their shoes off at the door without being asked. It all depends on what they were raised doing, or how they want things done at their place.
But when it comes to dinner, cocktail, or holiday party etiquette, there are some pretty specific behaviors all guests should try to avoid—because they’ll likely drive the host crazy. According to a OnePoll survey for BJ’s Wholesale, the absolute rudest thing a party guest can do is show up to the event when they’re sick. You may think it ill-mannered to rescind your acceptance at the last minute, but rest assured, it’s even poorer form to show up under the weather, sneeze through three courses, and get the rest of the group sick.
Contagions aside, hosts find it irritating when a guest asks for a dish or drink that isn’t out. There are probably exceptions to this pet peeve, like if you’re allergic to everything else on the menu—in which case you should call or email to tell your host; but, for the most part, guests should do their best to be a sport and enjoy what’s offered. The third worst type of guest is the one who overstays their welcome. Unless the hosts are your besties and offer you a post-party nightcap, read the room. If they’re yawning and starting to load the dishwasher—and the rest of the attendees have left—that’s your signal to grab your coat. A few other things that’ll get under a host’s skin? Not RSVPing, drinking too much, and spending the whole time on your phone.
Here’s the full list of the 10 worst breaches of party etiquette a guest can make. Good to know, just in case you’ve been inadvertently committing any of these offenses.
1. Showing up ill (36 percent)
2. Asking for a food or drink that isn't out (33 percent)
3. Being the last one to leave (33 percent)
4. Getting too drunk (33 percent)
5. Showing up early (32 percent)
6. Being on your phone all night (30 percent)
7. Launching into politics (29 percent)
8. Not RSVPing to invite (28 percent)
9. Spilling a drink or food (27 percent)
10. Not bringing food (to a potluck) (26 percent)
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