Consider us the party refs because we’re calling out party fouls. Some crimes against good times may go unnoticed by lesser partiers—and good hosts will always forgive minor transgressions—but some are just plain unforgivable. Stay on the straight and narrow and out of the water cooler chatter, and avoid these party fouls at all costs.
Spilling Your Drink (Especially on Someone Else)
An errant spilled beverage is the most common of party fouls, ruining carpets, your best friend’s dress and the chill vibe you all had going. Avoid wild gesticulation and keep your hand firmly grasped around that Solo cup.
Showing up Empty Handed
A host has a lot of responsibilities, so it’s only reasonable that you as a guest do your part: Bring a bottle. Make it something you like and are excited to share, and then help your host make some headway in their lovely party gift. It’s the polite thing to do.
Texting / Failing to Interact
A jumping party is not the time for “you time.” Check a text, make a quick call outside, but don’t be that dude glued to the screen all night. The pale glow of the screen is like a party-sucking tractor beam. Resist it.
Getting on the Furniture
Say it with us: I will keep my feet on the ground. This is your new mantra. Repeat it every time you feel the impulse to hop on the couch in your dirty street shoes or use your host’s kitchen table as a stage. Everyone at the party can see you just fine from ground level.
Dancing / Singing Obnoxiously
Oh, this one is your jam! You know every word. You even learned all the steps to the dance from the music video. Everyone will surely appreciate your amateur rendition, and of course no one will mind when you knock over a few chairs or wake the neighbors. Your art must shine for all the world to see.
Austin Powers may not be able to control the VOLUME OF HIS VOICE, but you sure can. If you’re vibrating at a few decibels above the pumping house music and setting off car alarms outside, turn down the dial a few notches. Remember what you learned in kindergarten and use your inside voice.
At the start of the night, everyone raises up their glass in a celebratory toast. And there you are drink-less and scowling. It’s OK to take it easy with a glass of wine instead of a shot of Fireball—or even opt out of drinking altogether for personal reasons—but you should still grab yourself a stand-in glass and cheers the hell out of your apple juice.
Forcing Others to Take Shots They Don’t Want
The ying to the above party foul yang, forcing others to take shots they don’t want can only end in one of three unfavorable outcomes: The shot recipient begrudgingly downs the drink (and resents you for the rest of the night). The shot sends the recipient over the edge into a bad night spiral. The shot ends up in your face.
Changing the Song
Hey, we were listening to that! Co-opting the tunes is already an affront to your host, but yanking the needle in the middle of everyone’s favorite jam is just poor form. Feel free to request a specific song to whoever’s DJ-ing. But don’t go rogue.
Chugging Straight From a Bottle of Booze
That bottle of vodka is not improved by your slobbery lips. Fellow guests were using it to mix their own drinks, but now the only thing left untainted is that half-empty bottle of grappa. Enjoy your own, personal bottle of vodka.
Mooching off Others’ Drinks
This is your drink. There are many like it, but this one is yours. So stick to it, instead of stealing nips from every friend’s cup that passes within arms reach. And don’t think you’re drinking healthy if you’re not holding a Solo cup of your own. Calories count even if they’re from someone else’s glass.
Mingle all you like. Harmless flirtation is totally forgivable. Persisting after being turned down, on the other hand, makes your intended beau (and onlookers) pretty uncomfortable. Take the hint.
Abandoning a Fellow Partier
It’s a war of a party out there, and no tipsy soldier gets left behind. We don’t care if your favorite taco spot closes in five minutes or Real Housewives is on or you’ve got to be at work at 6 a.m. tomorrow. You find your comrade and you carry them over your shoulder if needed.
No one actually at the party may notice you covertly texting your ex (unless you’re one of those partiers who “gets real” with every pair of ears that pauses in front of your hyperactive mouth), but the whole town will surely hear about it the next day. If you can’t count on your self control, give your phone to more responsible thumbs and let a friend edit you before you text up a storm.
Losing Your Drink
You lost your drink? But you left it right there, next to all the other drinks that look exactly like it. Losing your drink isn’t high treason in the ranks of party fouls, but it does mean you’ll squander more than your fair share of boozy supplies by refilling a new cup. Do your host and your planet a favor: Conserve by keeping track of your cup.
Snagging Someone Else’s Drink
“That dude lost his drink. Sucks for him. Guess I’ll just drink from this random cup I found.” No. Just, no.
You don’t have to fight for your right to party. That’s a universal right guaranteed by the Constitution. Leave the nunchucks at home, and leave the fist fighting to Bruce Lee.
Ghosting your host just as the shindig is warming up is like dropping the mic hard on their gracious head. Saying goodbye will take two seconds. You can still make it home in time for Jeopardy.
Bogarting the Bathroom
Remember that line you waited in (or rudely cut)? It didn’t disappear as soon as you twisted the lock on the bathroom doorknob. Others are still patiently waiting outside. Don’t make them break down the door to get you out. Your hair looks...fine.
It’s definitely not getting hot in here. So do not take off all your clothes. We should not have to say this. But we’ll say it again just in case: Do not take off all your clothes.
It’s the party foul of party fouls, the ultimate permanent disinvite, the infamous upchucking of all social mores and the very values our society stands upon—and a hell of a mess to clean up. If you can’t make it to the toilet, don’t make it to the party.