Now that everyone and their mama is throwing a cookout every other weekend, chances are that you will ultimately receive an invite from someone that you’re not really close with. This someone could be a co-worker, an acquaintance, your mailman, anyone really. Do you decline the invite and avoid all awkwardness or are you super nice and attend anyway? If you choose the latter (bravo!), here are some tips to get you through.
1. Bring a friend.
If the host agrees, ALWAYS try and bring someone you know to a function where you may not know anyone else. Sure, it is always good to meet new people, but forcing small talk is easier when you can divide and conquer. It’s also helpful to have a friend with you when the conversation turns to something you know absolutely nothing about. Then you can make an excuse, grab your friend, and hang by the drinks. That situation sucks when you’re by yourself, trust me.
2. Mind the guest list.
I’m not telling you to ask the host for a list of all the people that will be at his or her party, but you at least want to know what kind of guests to expect at the place. Why? Well, say you show up to one of your favorite co-worker’s house in booty shorts and a crop top when, ah crap, your manager walks in. That is never a good scenario. So, when you get the invite, casually throw in the following: “Oh, thanks for the invite! Is it just your family and friends, or are other people from work coming?” You are avoiding a whole lot of embarrassment just by asking.
3. Don’t be a mooch.
This shouldn’t need to be said, but unless the host truly insists, never show up to a party empty handed. Even if the party is fully stocked with food, bring chips, soda, anything! You know there are going to be people who consider you a mooch for showing up without contributing anything. Go empty your change jar, buy some Hot Cheetos, and
come to my house you won’t get a single evil eye.
4. Count your bottles.
Some people are a lot more comfortable around people they don’t know than others. Even if you are usually the life of the party, if you are going to any type of shindig, BBQ, etc. where people from work are around, it’s best to keep your booze level around pleasantly tipsy than frat boy wasted. Chances are that any shenanigans that go on at a cookout well attended by other associates will make it back to the office. Don’t be the water cooler story!
5. NEVER* eat and run.
It is so impolite to get to a gathering, pile your plate, and then immediately peace out. You may be at the most boring event of your life, but please, take my advice: always wait AT LEAST fifteen minutes after eating to start saying your goodbyes. In those fifteen minutes, strike up a conversation or tell a funny story that makes it seem like you are really enjoying yourself. Once those fifteen minutes are up, bring up your great aunt’s BBQ that you have to get to next. No one will be mad if you have to go see your great aunt! Now you are free to go home, finish off that bottle of wine, and finish your favorite shows on Netflix.
Really, what would you guys do without me? Enjoy your Sunday Funday!