Intrinsic Details of Elegant Socializing
Party Etiquette For Making Friends Of Your Choice - The Elegant and Confident Way
Social events are an integral part of your life. Parties are a good way to extend your network and deepen friendships. Good things happen to people when they make the effort to socialize correctly. They will find their opportunities to expand, grow, travel in areas of their personal, professional or business lives.
Most of us feel nervous going to a party. And that is what party etiquette is all about. This page is about what to expect, so that you'll be prepared when the situation comes.
So let's start from the very beginning, when you first arrive at a party...
Party Etiquette - When You First Arrive
Greet the host first
When you enter a room full of people at the party, find the host first and greet them with your gift. It could be a bottle of wine, flowers or a box of chocolates.
A good sense of party etiquette is to never arrive empty-handed, especially if it is a party in a home. Call your host a couple of days earlier and ask, "What can I bring?". If your hosts says on "nothing", just arrive with something small. (See below.)
- Good gifts to bring: wine, champagne, chocolates.
- Never arrive late at a dinner party.
- Do not arrive too early. The host might be wearing curlers and stressing out over her roast.
Party Etiquette - Breaking the Ice
Realize now that not everyone is an extrovert and feel complete at ease talking to strangers.
Once you realize that, it takes the pressure off yourself and others to be the perfect conversationalists.
Nevertheless, the first part of the party is to 'break the ice' and you can do so by gently asking questions and offering information about yourself.
Keep your conversations light and happy!
Party Etiquette - How To Socialize
Ask light-hearted questions
Find something about the other person you genuinely find interesting. Your eyes will inevitably glow with sincerity when speaking to them.
The other person will also feel flattered by your interest and attention.
As you ask, pause and wait for the person to finish her answer and contribute your own thought into it.
Speak in a relaxed manner, allowing the other person to return a question and ask about you.
Focus on similarities
When speaking with another person, focus on similarities but try not to shift the conversation topics back to you but let them talk about them.
Party Etiquette Caution: Sometimes when we are excited, we tend to ask a stream of pointed questions. The person whom you're getting to know is at risk of exhaustion answering all the questions. He or she will feel interrogated. If you don't allow them to ask questions about you, there will be frustration!
When asking questions, be sensitive about what is appropriate to ask.
Party Etiquette Taboo Topics
Some taboo topics and inappropriate questions you should not venture into
This list is not exhaustive! Read more tactless blunders - Converse with Class and how NOT to converse.
- How much do you earn?
- How much do you make in your business?
- How much did you pay for your car?
- Is it expensive?
- Are you married?
People Fall OFF The Party Etiquette Ladder Fast When...
- They let you and everyone know they are richer than anyone and you at the table
For example, they brag about the fine dining restaurants they often go to, their connoisseur knowledge of food and wine and basically talking about everything that is out of reach for everyone else.
- Take hijack the conversation.
"Oh we went there too! The pasta at ___ restaurant was the best in the world!"
Speak about their privileges from knowing the other person in an impressive manner. "Oh we didn't have to make a booking at this restaurant! This guy is a exclusive luxury ___ owner and he's a good friend of mine."
- Brag. Boast. Try to impress.
Don't even try, people always know when you are trying to impress.
- Be highly competitive at any friendly social function, game to the point of poor sportsmanship.
- Talk about themselves incessantly. Especially about their excellent skills, achievements: cooking, skiing, playing golf etc. They have no clue people are rolling their eyes in their heart
- Not be sensitive and speak about how "although we can both not work and travel around the world, we choose to..." when there is someone who might be struggling to pay their mortgage.
After pondering over this, I decided to put up a dedicated page on The Art of Conversation.
How To Be a Seasoned and Savvy Conversationalist
Follow the French style of indirectness
The French are known for their sarcastic conversations mixed in with humor especially if they adore you. But thing to take away from french culture is their awareness of being non-intrusive.
For instance, if they would like to know if you had children...
instead of saying, "Do you have children?"
They would say, "What a beautiful garden! It's perfect for children to be running around..."
Whereby you choose to either offer the information, "Oh yeah, my children go crazy with their dog here," "Yes, it'll be perfect when I have children."
Or just smile and say yes, if you don't want to reveal any information.
Other Party Etiquette examples include, if you look fairly young to be married, they address you as "mademoiselle", however, if you ARE married, you politely correct them and ask to be addressed as "Mdm".
Other ways include, "Does you husband like to cook?"
And you can say laughingly, "Oh I'm not married, but it would be nice to have a husband who cooks!"
Offer Your Information First "As Bait"
You can also politely, discreetly, elegantly offer information that you are single especially if you have an interest in the other party or would like them to recommend you to their friends.
Say things like, "I enjoy the opera but its hard to find someone to go with these days, everyone is so busy!"
"Oh, on the weekends I usually go with my mother to church etc.."
You try to invite questions to ask, "Oh, your boyfriend doesn't go with you? or your husband oversleeps?"
Bridging the Gap of Social Class
If, for some reason, you are aware of the difference in social classes especially if you are more privileged,
...in social standing, financial status, education, intelligence, never ever make the person feel so, or better yet, know so. Always attempt to make the other 'lesser' party at 'home' with you by being down to earth.
"I also have a difficulty getting up early!"
"The weather was so cold this weekend, I wanted to stay in bed all weekend too."
"It was one of my favorite movies."
"I look forward to my afternoon tea every day."
Treating everyone as equal no matter what social standing is one of the strongest traits of a classy person. See Mastering the Art of being Classy.
It's natural for anyone to want to feel better, to impress. Perhaps, the root cause of this behavior is insecurity and the lack of attention and love. Well, it's time to take the focus off ourselves and let us remember that ...
It is kind to not make someone feel less. Or poor. Or uneducated. Or stupid. Or small. Or with resigned envy.
It is gracious, kind and elegant.
How An Elegant Person Socializes
Let's now look at the Party Etiquette of an elegant woman.
If she is aware of her privilege in wealth, education, travel experiences, she would be sensitive and not speak about anything that others can't relate to.
During the dinner conversation say if they ask, and sometimes in an admiring way, keep a straight face (and not allow your face to light up with glee, reveling in all the attention) and speak graciously, not putting yourself down but say,
"Oh yes, I had the chance to travel to Italy, it was very nice. I'm glad you enjoyed it, tell me more...which is your favorite Italian city?"
Revert the conversation back to her. Let her be the star tonight since she just got back from Italy. You can share your experiences another time or privately.
Party Etiquette - Making Friends At A Party
We all make friends with a motive. It maybe because you have lots in common, or maybe you have a future business agenda.
So let's divulge into the normal conversation pattern.
The Very Common Conversation Pattern
"Hi my name is James."
"Hi James, very nice to meet you, I'm Kate."
"So Kate, what do you do?"
"I am the marketing director for BBC. What about you?"
"I am the executive director for Macquarie bank."
And then the conversation falls flat. Why not avoid that dreaded question altogether?
"What Do You Do?" - The Dreaded Question
Honestly, let me just say, this is not the most elegant way to start a conversation.
It can get intrusive and it is rather aggressive.
If you really want to know, ask the friend who brought you.
Some people are proud of their titles and what they do, and others are not. Maybe they don't feel comfortable with it, or maybe they just do not tie their identity with their jobs. And...let's not confuse ourselves with what you do and who you are.
Steering Away From "What Do You Do?"
I try to cope by being general and steering away from the common pattern. Instead, I like to talk about travel, weekends, hobbies, ergonomics, posture, breathing, sports etc. And the conversation can spin off in many different directions. People are more passionate and interested in talking about what they love to do. And if it happens to fall into the category of what they do, that's even better because they will be speaking with heart-swelling pride.
So when someone says to me,
"Eunice, what do you do?"
Even though I'm passionate about what I do, I respond with a general answer.
"I work in content management". (or "I work in retail and distribution", "in education" etc etc)
"I work in content management". (or "I work in retail and distribution", "in education" etc etc)
By being general, or downplaying the importance of your work, sends out a better, more elegant message. You're not out to impress, you're relaxed, elegant and perfectly content and at peace with who you are.
Giving off titles might impress or intimidate others.
If the other party really needs and wants to know more, he will definitely ask pointedly, and you can go, "Oh, I work with ___________."
"With" is more elegant than "for".
It is more elegant to talk about everything general and light-hearted such as the weather, hobbies, movies, recent news and events.
And I'd rather talk about the beautiful weather!
(At least for the first ten minutes.)
Gosh the weather is so beautiful today
Did you watch that movie?
What do you get up to on your weekends?
How is your evening?
Generally, in a party atmosphere, we want to move on to meet new people, have a brief conversation.
Remember to keep your conversations light and happy.
Some "Don'ts" in Party Etiquette
- Do not linger.
- Do not ask for their phone numbers right away.
- Avoid talking about work and your career aspirations.
- Avoid girlish bonding right away talking about your men problems.
- Do not talk to any one person for more than ten minutes at the start at the party.
- Flit around like a butterfly, meeting everyone by introducing yourself and ask if they are having a good time at the party.
If you feel like you like this person and want to establish a friendship this is what you do:
To establish a new friend or potential business contact
If you feel the 'connection' with someone, either for comradeship or a potential love interest, quickly get their business/personal cards.
Or remember their names so you can search them on Facebook (of course, casually ask them, oh are you on Facebook?) before that. Or discreetly exchange phone numbers and take your friendship to another level by scheduling lunch over the next few days.
If it's a business contact, you can talk business then. Remember your party etiquette!
You might like:
Go back to Etiquette.