10 holiday party tips from the gay community: 2013 edition

Revisiting a holiday classic.

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5. Spend some time with the host(s). Thank them in advance for having you over and compliment them on how great they look, or how nice their place is, or how delicious the food/drink was. If you have to embellish the truth a touch, then do it, just don't lie outright and tell them how much you adore the fig and pistachio cheese log. You might just end up with one under your own tree in a few days.

[If you're somebody's +1, make a standalone impression with the hosts without violating Item #8. If you absolutely must explain why you don't like a certain food item at a party, turn it back on yourself: make up a traumatic incident involving those figs and pistachios. Make 'em wince.]

6. Mingle and Network. Your host is often too busy to introduce you to everyone. It's perfectly acceptable to introduce yourself, even here in Vancouver. Other guests will appreciate it and you never know who you might meet - a future friend, lover or employer is only a "hello!" away.

[This seems particularly tough for Vancouverites, and I'm not the first to point it out. Use the Christmas party season as a training ground for enhanced sociability. You won't be sorry. At the aforementioned White Elephant party, I witnessed this step turn into what would surely be a willful violation of the last part of Item #9, albeit presumably at the woman's apartment. All I know is, they left together because they breached their social walls.]

7. Don't drink too much. Stick with one thing over the course of the evening and follow the old stand-by rule: one drink followed by one water, soda or juice. And if you're drinking, for goodness sake, don't drive. Take transit, a cab or arrange for a car service.

[You don't want to be "that guy" (or "that girl", but, yeah, it's usually a guy). Violating Item #7 doesn't help with Item #6 as much as you'd like to think. Come midnight, look around. If you can't spot the drunkest person in the room, then it's you.]

8. Don't be a bore. Nobody wants to hear about your accomplishments all night. Ask about what other people are up to, talk about current issues or holiday plans, but above all, talk. There's nothing worse than a wall flower that just stares into space looking scared.

[This city has a weirdly high frequency of this. You either hear the verbal equivalent of a LinkedIn profile from someone, or silence. This one is also linked to Item #6. It's time for a change, Vancouver, and let it begin with us!]

9. Leave at an appropriate time. Don't ask to crash on the sofa because you've had too much to drink, or ask to wait until the SkyTrain starts running again. If you see your hosts yawning and hanging around the entrance, then it's probably time to go.

[If your host asks you to stay, then you've either done really well with Items 1-8 or gotten stuck with cleanup duty. If you get handed a mop, then it's definitely cleanup duty. Rubber gloves? Hmmm. Could still be either one.]

10. Thank your host(s). Again. A hand written note the next day is best, but at the very least a phone call or thoughtful email will suffice.

[If the party was organized via Facebook, don't forget that you can write on the event's wall. Maybe post a (non-incriminating) photo or two. Also, this gives you a chance to connect with anyone with whom you didn't exchange info – or "exchange info" – the night before.]

So there you are: 10 tips to get you by. If your schedule isn't too busy, maybe it's your turn to throw a little party this year.

Keep smiling, pack mints, wear nice socks and I'll see you on the circuit!

[Happy holidays, and try not to re-enact too many scenes from "Bad Santa."]

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