How to Attend a Party Like a Gentleman

The days are long, the sun is bright, and the mercury is steadily rising. This can mean only one thing: Summer is here. With that, barbecues, parties, and social gatherings are right on her heels. Arguably the greatest season on Earth, Summer brings out the best opportunities to let loose, relax, and explore. Don’t be fooled, however. Summer has led gentlemen astray with her siren song for eons.

She whispers, “go ahead and have another Long Island, you’re only getting funnier” in the ears of all of us, long after the rest of our body has pulled the plug. She lulls us into submission with warm air, cool breezes, hot bodies, and cold drinks.

Damn you Summer. Your cruel but wicked fun is a double-edged sword.

Gentlemen experience summer a little differently. They are invited to parties and gatherings that may be outside their comfort zone or include people of higher influence. They are repeatedly welcomed into social circles from all walks of life. Gentlemen seem to have a Golden Ticket when it comes to summer parties. The truth is, those gentlemen earned it.

How can you earn the Gentleman’s Golden Ticket?

The first step is learning how to attend a party like a gentleman does. This includes the way he dresses, prepares, communicates, consumes, and even the way he leaves. Here’s how you attend a party or social event like a gentleman:  [Subscribe Here]

Do your homework first.

If you’ve been invited as a guest or “plus one” of a friend, you owe it to yourself to do your homework. Who is hosting the party? What does he or she do? Why are they hosting the party? Knowing that you’re going to Candace’s house to celebrate her divorce is just as important as going to your best mate’s place to watch the Superbowl. You’ll conduct yourself differently, won’t you. Of course you will. You’ll also bring a different gift. We’ll talk about that next.

If you don’t get the chance to do a little research, you can still make a great impression with the next two keys. Trust me.

Don’t ever show up empty-handed.

attend a party like a gentlemanWhen a gentleman shows up to a party as a guest, he brings a gift. More often than not, this is as simple as a bottle of wine for the host. Many parties are hosted by women, and statistically, women enjoy wine more than beer. Play to your largest audience. When you show up with a gift, it is often seen as you paying your way into a party, even if it’s an unspoken rule. You are appreciated the moment you walk into the event. Just like your best friend enjoys when you bring beer to his Superbowl party, gifts make a difference.

Here are some drinks you can bring to be the best man at the barbecue. (These are what I mention in the episode.)

Dress above what you think the other guests will wear.

attend a party like a gentlemanDon’t arrive in a suit (unless it’s that kind of party), but make sure you’re one of the best dressed individuals in the room. You will be remembered for looking good, but only if you’re comfortable. Frequently, barbecues and gatherings at the home are outside on beautiful days. In these situations, a polo shirt and a nice pair of shorts is a safe choice.

Note: No, you’re not allowed to wear jean shorts. And no, you can’t wear those ridiculous cargo shorts you liked in college. You’re not camping. A pair of cotton or Drillino shorts like these would look great with a fitted polo. Even if you think everyone at the party will be wearing old Van Halen t-shirts, wear a polo. You’d be amazed how much a collar makes a difference.

Meet the host.

A gentleman will walk in, introduce himself to whomever should answer the door, and present his bottle of wine. If that person isn’t the host, he will look around the room to see if he knows anyone there. Usually, his partner (whom he is a guest of) will escort him to those he or she knows, and most likely this will be the host. He’ll introduce himself and learn more about who he or she is. A gentleman builds rapport.

Look, I know this sounds quite technical, but think about it for a second. If you enter a strange home as a guest of someone else, you would make a fantastic first impression by presenting a gift to the host. Hell, someone showing up at your party, meeting you and being appreciative and curious, and giving you and your wife a bottle of wine would stand out, right? Right. These are good rules. Let’s move on.

Mingle with the room.

attend a party like a gentlemanYou will leave a great lasting impression with everyone (the ultimate goal) if you make a point to meet and converse with as many people as possible. If you have a few friends there, spend some warm-up time with them to get comfortable, then go around and meet other people. Here is a rule to make sure that you don’t become the guy that walks around telling everyone about himself:

Ask questions. Introduce yourself and begin asking about the other person. Find out about the guests. People love to talk about themselves and they love to feel heard. When you ask people about themselves and let them speak, they’ll relax and feel comfortable with you. You will make great connections and probably meet some great people who will remember you fondly… because you didn’t talk about you.

Do NOT get wasted.

don't drink too muchThis is the biggest rule of them all. People will remember you and the night you had, especially if you got so hammered, you don’t remember a bit of it. There’s not a thing wrong with having a couple and getting a little tipsy, but you cannot cross that cut-off line. When the summer air whispers to “have another because you’re awesome and life is awesome and this is awesome,” you know it’s time to graciously exit.

Note: A gentleman always has a ride. He does not ever drink and drive. You can get Uber, Lyft, a cab, or a ride from a sober friend almost anytime of day or night, so there’s no excuse to get behind the wheel.

Exit with gratitude.

attend a party like a gentlemanThis is the icing on the party cake. Gentlemen always make sure to give their thanks and appreciation to the host before departing. The host remembers when people said goodbye, and remembers when certain people didn’t. You want to be in the former group, not the latter.

When you give your goodbye to the host(s) with appreciation and gratitude for such a wonderful event, you are leaving that last impression of being a gracious guest – an upstanding gentleman, and they not only appreciate it, they remember it (and tell others about it).

The formula for being invited to parties and social gatherings isn’t a difficult one to master. As long as you arrive well-dressed, well-versed, appreciative and curious, you will have a great time. You’ll meet people, learn things, and leave a stellar long-lasting impression. After a couple events, you’ll find that you’re welcome at a handful of new places simply because you demonstrated that you’re a perfect gentleman, and people love having you in attendance.

What piece of advice do YOU have for attending a party like a gentleman?
Are there any you think I missed – any wisdom you want to share?
Leave a comment below so we can connect!



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The Author

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton is the founder and coach at The Sharp Gentleman, and helps men earn more respect while gaining confidence in who they are. He is a certified relationship coach and loves writing about men's fashion, style, character-building, relationships, travel, adventure, and more.