The majority of people that I surround myself with have some level of a social life. It can vary from “I only come out of the house for birthdays and special occasions” to “I’m going to at least one event per day during the week and two on the weekends plus brunch and Sunday Funday.” Having been on both sides of the spectrum and currently tiptoeing somewhere in the middle, I have seen a lot of faux pas and social awkwardness as well as been guilty of some myself (a very limited amount).
In no particular way am I a social expert, but I do feel as though there are some things that a person should be privy to by now. If you aren’t, then maybe you will reconsider what you do after reading this. With that being said, here are some of my adult etiquette tips that every social millennial should know.
Empty Hands Don’t Get Fed
If someone is having a potluck, dinner, game night, bbq, etc…. bring something. It can be store bought cookies, but at least you didn’t show up empty handed. I don’t care how many times someone says don’t worry about bringing something, they really want you to bring something. Also use deductive reasoning here. If it’s a dinner for ten people, one bag of chips isn’t cutting it. Five dollar bottles of wine are definitely a thing. If you don’t have the funds, people are more than likely going to be understanding. Offer to help cook or clean up instead.
You Don’t Have to Go, but You Have to Get The Hell Out of My House
I would think this would go without saying, but since I have seen it happen here it is. If you go to someone’s party or event, especially if is in their home, don’t be rude to that person. Do everyone a favor and stay home. If someone specifically told you do not come it gives you zero room to play the guessing game for showing up. Don’t be the person that gets put out in front of everyone. Their house or event means their rules, hun.
Let The Bottle Go
So you have brought something to the gathering, great! You have completed step one. That means that you also brought an item to get consumed. Don’t hug your item all night (especially if it is alcohol) or hide it from people then try to take it home at the end of the night. You fake showed up with an item at this point.
Just Be a Man About It
There may be some disagreement on this, but I personally think seeing men trample over women to get to the food is rather uncouth. I recall one Friendsgiving where men that weren’t even invited showed up. They rushed in line hopping in front of the women to get their plates loaded with food that we cooked like they weren’t going to eat for the next few days. They brought a bottle of the Devil’s Juice (Hennessey) and kept it to themselves all night. Screams: THEY DON’T EVEN GO HERE!
The False RSVP
I read a post by a woman that had recently gotten married where she suggested that she and her husband will RSVP to friend’s gatherings and not show up. She felt as though it was acceptable because they were married and things happen. I agree that things do come up unexpectedly, however, your marriage isn’t a golden ticket for a no show. We all have emergencies, get tired after a long week, etc. but if someone is having an event in which they asked for your presence and they have to spare expense for you such as food, alcohol, etc., be gracious enough to let that person know you can’t make it or plan accordingly. Prior proper planning is key.
RSVPs also do not mean that if someone invites you to an event and you agree to come, such as the aforementioned Friendsgiving, you bring yourself and five of your friends unknowingly to the host. Call, text or even email that person and say your cousin on your dad’s half brother’s side is in town and can he come? Simple. Be respectful of people and their space.
Going to dinner is an area to navigate within itself. Some restaurants will only take a certain amount of payments or split the check a certain amount of ways. Most of the time it is easier to split the bill evenly if you have a larger party. Luckily, I am the master check splitter and will let Venmo’s fly with a quickness while at the dinner table.
Remember when splitting the check, include tax and tip. If your meal is $14, don’t throw $15 in the pot thinking that it covers it all. If tax and tip for the whole meal for 8 people is $30 total, then you would actually owe $17.75 and not $14. That is still your fair share.
At any dinner, you should tip. Period. No question. Unless the server is actually horrible, then understood. Otherwise… don’t be that person.
If you are doing a group dinner and it looks like you will be splitting it evenly, don’t be the person that orders an appetizer for only you, two drinks and the most expensive entree when everyone else got drinks at the bar and ordered an average meal. It doesn’t matter if you got it, someone else might not; and if you don’t even have it, don’t put your night out on someone else.
Do not…I repeat… do not tell the waiter to put your food and your friend’s food on someone else’s tab if that person doesn’t know. This is very different from saying can you go on one bill and you give them cash, Quickpay or another option. This is them sitting their card down, going to the bathroom and you telling the waiter to put all of your drinks and food on their tab and then walk off. Also sounds very crazy and a little on the theft side, but I have seen it happen. Do Not. Be. That. Person.
If you go to dinner with people and decide you aren’t ordering food, don’t ask to taste everyone’s food. You have gone from plate to plate eating off of your friends and now have consumed a whole meal. You also, shouldn’t be that person.
Hey You, Talk to Me
I can say I am guilty of this in one aspect because of my job and everything I am involved in, I constantly check my phone and respond to emails out of habit. However, if we are out to dinner, please don’t sit on the phone and have a 10–15-minute conversation. Answer and let the person know or excuse yourself to the table. Foremost I am at lunch or dinner for the good food, to be honest, but secondly is to interact with another human.
This is in no way an actual guide or everything on etiquette. I still pick up the wrong fork at dinner a good amount of time. This is more a general guidance on high-level pet peeves people, myself included, have when being social with others. Moral of the story… DON’T BE THAT PERSON.