How To Ditch Traditional Party Guest Etiquette... But Still Get An Invite Next Time Around

We all know the saying: rules are made to be broken -- and we happen to think that party etiquette is no exception. In fact, many of today’s guest “rules” are simply outdated remnants of a society where parties meant ballgowns, white gloves, and handwritten invitations. While we love the idea of formal ballroom dancing and five-course meals, today’s social scene tends to be a bit less “butlers and waltzes” and a bit more “cocktails and rap music.”

Given that we've relaxed the rules for social gatherings, there are plenty of outdated party guest “rules” we’d love to toss out: Do I have to bring a plus-one to this wedding? What does "cocktail casual" even mean? Do I have to bring a gift if I'm a little broke? With that said, there are just as many rules we can't quite leave behind. Etiquette itself is not outdated, just some of the arbitrary rules are -- and as much as we think some are ready to be kicked to the curb, there are others we think are timeless.

In this spirit, we've put together a list of party guest “rules” that you can totally break -- and a few that are definitely worth keeping. Follow these rules, and you’re sure to become your friends’ favorite party guest.

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You Can Sneak Out Without Saying Goodbye...

Let's start out with one of the most hotly debated practices: leaving a party without saying a "proper" farewell. Although many may think it’s rude, we would argue that this move makes things easier on everyone. Not only do you want to leave without causing a fuss, the host likely doesn’t have the time (or energy) to say an extended goodbye to each party guest. Want to slip out of the party and into your pajamas as quickly as possible? We’ve got your back.

...But You Should Always Follow Up With A Thank-You Note.

That being said, even parties that you leave without saying goodbye deserve a follow-up thank-you note. The type of note should be adjusted by the type of party you attended -- and the type of invitation you received. Email invites? Feel free to send an email back. Facebook or text invite? Totally fine to shoot the host a text. If the host made the effort to send out printed invitations (impressive!), take the extra time to send a handwritten thank-you note.

You Can Skip A Party You Don’t Actually Want To Attend…

Never feel obligated to attend a party that you don’t actually want to go to. If you’re there unwillingly (or unhappily), it will show, both to the host and to the other guests. While some may think it’s rude to decline an invitation, we think it’s even ruder to accept out of obligation.

...But You Should Always RSVP Appropriately.

Just because we’re letting you off the hook in terms of accepting invitations doesn’t mean you shouldn’t RSVP accordingly. The host is likely depending on RSVPs to give them an accurate estimate of how much food, alcohol, or Champagne glasses to prepare.

You Can Crash A Large Party…

If a friend invites you along to a big bash, feel free to tag along. Hosts of large parties expect the guest list to fluctuate, and will likely prepare enough supplies so that an extra few attendees won’t make or break the stockpile.

...But You Should Not Bring Unexpected Plus-Ones To An Intimate Gathering.

If you know the host has specifically limited the guest list to a small number of people, it’s uncouth to bring extra friends along. You’ll not only be putting the host in an awkward place, but you'll also be putting your tagalong guest in an uncomfortable situation.

You Can Get Creative With Host Gifts...

Gone are the days where a bottle of wine is the only possible gift to bring along to a party. Take into account who the host is and what she is celebrating. Know the host loves craft beer? Bring along a six-pack. Attending a housewarming party? Grab some candles or a wine opener. Celebrating a new job or graduation? Bring along a business-card holder or day planner.

...But You Shouldn't Show Up Empty-Handed.

While we think it’s totally fine to get creative with what to bring to a party, we don’t encourage showing up empty-handed. Even if you bring along something small or inexpensive (nobody said you had to break your budget!), it’s a thoughtful gesture to bring something to the table.

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