Tips and tricks from our resident relationship expert on how to navigate drinking and toking and partying (oh my!) at your other halves’ holiday party
We’re deep in December, which is the utmost awkward time to be with someone because you can’t be a good partner but also not say yes to attending their myriad of holiday-related happenings.
Whether you were invited as a plus one to attend their stiff, annual family Christmas Eve dinner, or were brought as an arm-candy to make your date look better than he feels to his work holiday party or hometown bar in the days between Christmas and New Years Eve, you’re now thrown into a situation they might not even want to be in themselves.
Here are my top tips and need to knows to keep your relationship in fine form over the holidays:
- Do your research: Who do they get along with? Who did they used to bang? Who has eyes for them? Who’s their nemesis? The more info you have going into a situation, the better to ensure you don’t misread anything. There’s nothing worse than getting into a half hour bond-fest with someone only to find out they’re the one who taught your partner how to do that thing with their tongue.
- Don’t overshare: When it comes to inviting a plus one to a party, there’s nothing worse than an over-sharer. It pretty much ties with “making a scene” in first place of worst things to do at an event or party. Rule of thumb: share news about yourself and your happenings, but refrain from sharing accolades, trials and triumphs on behalf of your other half. Being drunk isn’t an excuse to unload your partners secrets, or things they told you in confidence, whether they seem meaningless or not.
- Know your limit, stay within it: Big drinker? Not a problem, but read the crowd and know when to cut yourself off, or take a water break. Getting wasted at an intimate gathering isn’t a good look. Don’t be the last to find that out. Oh and pace yourself.
- Find out dress code in advance: A simple ask will ensure you fit in properly and don’t insult any hosts.
- Be discreet: Are you a toker or a smoker? Excuse yourself and go outside to hit you’re your vice of choice, but don’t make a big announcement of it. People and families can be weird or opinionated about smoking and toking, so unless your partner takes the reigns and brings it up, subtlety is the name of the game. This goes back to oversharing: it’s not your place to bond your significant others siblings, friends, etc., by inviting them to join you outside.
- It’s ok to remove yourself from a conversation: Recently I was at an event and a ran into someone, only for me to realize that an hour had flown by and I hadn’t talked to anyone else. And lovely though it was to catch up with this person, I missed getting the opportunity to chat with other people, especially the person I went with. So not cool of me. I realized it as the party wrapped up, immediately apologized to the friend I was with, and instead of going home, went to a local watering hole with her and give her my undivided everything. All of this is to say that you’re not a bad person for wrapping up a convo – what starts as a quick hello can turn into a whole small talk sesh, and you might feel guilty ending it or cutting someone off. Don’t. Say you’re going to get a drink, or looking for your partner, and if you care to, exchange social handles to catch up later. Say it was nice meeting them, then walk away. Chances are they want to do the same. Work the room and enjoy your time as you see fit.
- Don’t overstay your welcome: When people start to head out, use that as your cue. No one wants a houseguest that never leaves.
- Have a safe word: I always suggest that couples should have a word they can use – much like you’d use a safe word in the bedroom – to indicate to their partner immediately (and subtly) that they want them to stop talking about something. If they get into political territory or are overstepping boundaries with their words, or you’re feeling uncomfortable, or even want to head out, this lets them know to stop immediately, without having to make The Face, kick them under the table or elbow them (the classic trifecta equating to Shut The Fuck Up. As an aside: If your partner kicks you under the table, elbows you, or gives you The Face, don’t be the asshole that shouts “Ouch! Why are you doing that?” You know why. Everyone knows why. Lets not embarrass her while you’re at it. Same goes if your partner texts you from across the room. Don’t say out loud “Babe, why are you texting me I’m right here.” They’re texting you to tell you something off the record that you clearly aren’t getting vis a vis their obvious hints. The second you acknowledge aloud that they’ve texted you, you’ve not only embarrassed and belittled then, but you’re also ensuring your placement in the proverbial dog house. Good luck on your ride home!