I am not Emily Post and have been guilty of losing some tact when encountering the people below. As people are getting ready to go to Superbowl parties with many friends, I thought some tips on how to be a welcome guest might come in handy. These are especially useful while you are talking about things other than the football game (Wait…what’s that? People actually watch the game??) A quick brush up on social skills never hurt anyone.
1. We’ve all encountered the bragger at parties. This person thinks that everyone wants to hear about how great Little Johnny did in school or how he is the star of whatever sport he is playing or that he is going to be the next Daniel Day Lewis, but trust me, they do not. The only people who want to hear that is maybe Little Johnny’s grandparents and only so that they can claim that LJ gets it from their side (not all grandparents do this). Raising kids is not a contest with the winner being the one that talks the most about the great things their child does.
2. If the latest gossip is why a child is grounded or why they didn’t play in a game, refrain from asking about it or reveling in the fact that your child would NEVER do that. Chances are it is something that everyone involved wants to forget and bringing it up while saying, “I’m so glad my child wasn’t involved,” will only make you look bad because no one can guarantee that at some point your child won’t be involved. Karma likes to take a big bite out of the asses of people who use the world “never”.
3. Many times parties are made up of people whose kids play on the same sports team. This is great fun since if your kids are playing travel anything, you become like family. Like with family, we sometimes take for granted that we can say whatever we want and the person will love us anyway. Resist the urge to discuss how great of a season your kid is having, how much play time they are getting or not getting and never, ever make a comment about another kid especially to that kid’s parents unless it is that they are a great asset to the team. The play time things is a funny one because people love to discuss it and since the only person that can control it is the coach, talking about it gets you nowhere but mad at the person you are talking to.
4. Balance the good with the bad. No one wants to be with someone who is totally negative but no one wants to be with someone who is burping out butterflies. For example, if I am chiming in with how this weekend has become some sort of holiday for Leo, I don’t want to hear, “Oh, let him have some fun. He works hard all week.” We, as women, need to commiserate as well as laugh and have a good time. A better response to what I said might have been, “That sucks and weren’t the kids sick, too? He owes you big time for this one.” See, I was just looking to vent and poke a little fun while looking for validation that it sucked. The person saying that he owes me was a nice touch.
5. Beware of the “One-upper.” This person is the ultimate buzz-kill. This is the person that if you say you are redoing your backyard, they chime in with, “Really? Are you going to have a fire pit?” You answer yes and they come back with, “That’s nice. We are redoing ours but we are going to have 2.” You talk about how your child is looking at a few colleges and they chime in that their kid is only looking at big ten schools. The topic turns to spring break and someone says they are going to Disney. The one-upper says they’ve been to Disney so many times that now they are going to do a European cruise. You might be really excited about the 5lbs you have just lost but the one-upper will say, “That’s great. I lost 10.” We have all encountered this person and after a short conversation, it’s tempting to see how far they will take their one-upping but I find that walking away is less frustrating.
Now that I read these over, they aren’t just good to remember for Superbowl parties but are in general social skills that are good to have. I know that I am guilty of the balance one. I could be a little more “cheery.” For this reason and the fact that I still have kids that are sick, I am staying home but I swear the next time I am in public, you might see butterflies surrounding me (I couldn’t even type that with a straight face). When dealing with offenders of the above, you might find yourself frustrated but remember, most of these things say so much more about the person saying them than the person they are saying them to.
And if you are wondering, I am not a Superbowl-hater. I don’t love this weekend as much as Leo or my guy friends but I love football and having gone to New York, have a new appreciation for the NFL. I am going to have a party here with the kids. Sparkling grape juice, taco dip, lots of finger foods…the same things we did when the kids were 7 and 4 and they are still talking about it. Well, the twins are, not so much Nico. I bet if I throw in a Shamrock Shake for Nico and strawberries and chocolate for me, everyone will be happy.