The door opens. The host shrieks your name like you just won a new car. But you didn’t win a new car — you’re at a party, and, like the five thousand parties you’ve previously been to, you’re expecting to talk to people, have a modest amount of fun, and then go home not quite sure if anyone could pick you out of a crowd if their lives depended on it.
But wait — what if you could leave a subtle, yet enduring impression on people? What if, the next time you went to a party, everyone would remember your name? Even better: What if they wouldn’t dream of leaving you off a future invite list, because of how much delight and classiness you bring to every situation?
What if, in short, you could make a splash?
Well, you can. Here are some simple tips on how to be the guy nobody can forget… without being a showboat about it.
There are many guides that go into every painstaking detail (and you should learn all the details), but two biggies are, make sure your shoulder seam is at least in the vicinity of the edge of your shoulder, and for dress pants, a small break (the crease right above your cuff) is best. Nobody’s going to think, “Whoa, that dude’s clothes fit really well” — they’ll just have the undefinable sense that you know what you’re doing and you’ve got your shit together.
There’s absolutely nothing important happening on your phone right now. Turn it off. Better yet, leave it at home. Other people, not as enlightened as you, will be swiping, tapping, and scrolling like they’re trying to meet a Pokémon Go on Tinder. Don’t shame them for it — instead, use it as a challenge to be interesting enough that, for five seconds, they just might forget about Squirtle, 27. And speaking of being interesting...
Of course you already know to bring something to a party. You’re not a barbarian. But don’t just bring any old six-pack you dug out the back of your fridge. Bring something thoughtful, like DEWAR’S 12. Sumptuous, fruity, and smooth, DEWAR’S 12 is aged in oak casks for 12 years (you could probably tell that from the name). It’s the kind of party gift people will be talking about — at least until the next party, which you’ll be invited to because everyone’s hoping you’ll bring that classy Scotch whisky again.
Most “conversations” should be called “people waiting for other people to stop talking so they get to talk.” Tonight, your job is to listen and react. It’s very simple, and, like magic, you’ll find that all of a sudden, people find you interesting. You don’t even have to be interesting! But it’s helpful if you are.
Make a genuine offer to the host to assist with anything he or she might need you to do. Getting the door is an easy, obvious one. You could also help prepare or set out appetizers, or refill people’s drinks. Sometimes, your services will be declined, and you’ll still get points for offering.
Casually demonstrate your excellence in some low-key way that’s appropriate to the group (and your personality). For instance, learn an impressive card trick — like, really learn it, so people will be begging you to do it again. (Maintain the mystery and don’t do it again.)
Even easier, and just as effective: Learn a cocktail recipe that’s a little off the beaten path, but a proven crowd-pleaser, like a blood and sand or Rob Roy. Ask the host if you can make cocktails. They will almost definitely be on board, and now you’re a mixologist. (Don’t call yourself that though.)
What are some of your tips for making a splash? Share them below. Who knows, if you impress people in the comments, they just might invite you to their next party.
Tony Carnevale is a senior writer for Studio@Gawker.
Illustration by Jake Inferrera.