Cocktail Party Etiquette: 11 Things You Should Never Talk About Over Drinks
You've got your case of business cards, a drink name you can order with confidence at the bar (even if you're not entirely sure what it is), a stain-remover pen (just in case), and all the mints your clutch can carry. You're ready for this cocktail party. Before you try out one of your amazing ice-breaking initiations with potential colleagues, read our list of social no-nos to avoid!
Your Juice Cleanse
As much as you think it's really impressive that you've been supplementing solid food for a cup of liquid kale, no one else actually cares. You're sure to alienate people holding finger food and wine when you say, "Oh, I can't eat that -- or really drink this, either. I'm on a cleanse." Ugh.
Unless this cocktail party is at a gallery or museum, there are a million other things you can talk about. Plus, be honest -- you have no idea what the assorted artwork represents in this room. And, yes, it may look very hip to cock your head to the side when you stand in front of a painting with your glass of wine, contemplating the artist's feelings -- but the moment you open your mouth about what the artist "is trying to say with this piece," you run the risk of sounding pretentious, being wrong, and standing in front of that same painting alone.
How to Improve the Party
What? No. Stop. You were not invited to organize this cocktail party. If the choice of venue, events, decorations, and guests are not up to your standards, you have every right to organize your grand exit if you please. Stop being a downer.
Your Uber-Cool Job
Good for you for landing your dream job! But going on and on about how your team has Whiskey Fridays and how working from home whenever you want is so awesome can get really trite after awhile. Let others speak about their jobs, then engage. Remember, the less you reveal, the more interesting and humble you appear to be.
Unless the office accountant is going on a burning-bridges tour by revealing everyone's pay grade, there is zero reason to bring up what you or anyone else is pulling in. Really, we shouldn't even have to explain this -- don't do it.
Body and Clothing Commentary
Talk about being basic. Making arbitrary comments about other people's body shape or clothing is not only a bad topic of conversation, but it's also incredibly rude. It doesn't matter how fat/skinny someone is or what they have chosen to wear -- respect people's individual rights on how to live their best life.
Fights and Arguments
This is your chance to meet new people, connect, exchange business cards, and practice the art of working a room. This is not the opportunity to bring up the moment your past boo got into a screaming match with you, ending with your inevitably throwing his clothes on the front stoop of the apartment. Get your life right, girl. Even if it happened just before you left the house to come to the party, keep it to yourself.
You didn't put on that swanky dress/pantsuit to chat about how much you hate V-neck shirts or the U2 album that randomly appeared on all of our iTunes one day (but really, why did that happen?). This is a chance for you to put your best foot forward and engage positively with other professionals. Let people remember you for your positive energy and not leave saying, "Why did she talk about how much she hates the weather so much?"
Unless you were invited to Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux's wedding, there should be little reason to chat about it. Celebrities are just people. Guess what: You're a person too! Talk about the things you are interested in, and refrain from all conversations that start with, "How do you think William and Kate should dress the royal babies?" You are smarter than that.
Politics / Religion
Even if you're 99 percent certain you've found a group of like-minded individuals, these two topics should be off-limits at a cocktail party. Get to know people for their content of character, and not who they are voting for.