Grad Party Survival Guide

By: Jackie Thompson

Ah, the grad party. As if 12 years of school with the same people wasn’t enough, these beloved get-togethers give you the opportunity to meet their relatives! If you’ve never ridden the grad party circuit before, all the invitations piling up can seem daunting to say the least. Here are a few tips to ensure your survival:

  1. Bring a Friend: The Buddy System was created for a reason.  Arriving alongside a trusted ally practically guarantees that you’ll never be a victim of awkward lulls in conversations. They’ll always have your back. A friend is also an easy out of any party–just say you decided to party together hop and it’s probably about time you made way over to friend’s cousin’s party. Make sure you and your friend decide about when you’ll leave prior to showing up as well. This ensures that you’re not stuck talking to so-and-so’s grandparents while your friend breezes through a six round corn-hole tournament.
  2. Prepare for the parents: Those hamburgers and hot dogs aren’t the only things that’ll be grilled at a grad party; if you’re a graduate as well, be ready for the barrage of questions about your own plans for the four years. As much as they might want to, the parents and relatives you’ll encounter at these events can’t talk about their precious grad forever. If this line of conversation makes you uncomfortable, try to turn the tables and talk about the other person’s college and career experience instead. You might end up receiving some valuable advice!
  3. Eat to Win: If you’re attending multiple parties in a day, don’t expect to sit down and eat a full meal each time it is served at the parties. One of the pluses of grad parties are the delicious snacks, and the only way you’ll be able to enjoy them is if you pace yourself. Scope out the buffet upon arrival and determine which goodies you absolutely have to have and which you can pass by. If you play your cards right, your multiple trips to the buffet with lengthen your time at the party and give the appearance that you didn’t just come for the food and left once you’d had your fill.
  4. College is expensive: Unless your whole family will be in attendance, you probably won’t be expected to give the grad anything but your presence. Regardless, if do you find yourself in a gift-giving position, might I suggest money. It’s classless to some, but it’s really the most utilitarian gift you can give to a soon-to-be broke college student. If you’re really put off by the idea of slipping the grad a couple bucks, opt for a gift card. Amazon, Visa, Target, or Wal-Mart gift cards are your best bet here.
  5. It’s an invitation, not an obligation: Put more succinctly, you don’t have to go. If you don’t feel like you know the person well enough to survive even 30 minutes of the party, send them a note instead! Write about how glad you are to have gotten to know them (even if just a little bit) and how you’ll surely miss them. If you want to sweeten the pot, slide them a little bit of cash. However, if you simply dread the idea of having to get out there and make small talk, just make an appearance! Head into the party with a pre-prepared excuse and leave once you’ve had your fill. Who knows? You might actually end up enjoying yourself!

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