At the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, it will be 2020. The year may feel futuristic to some, but humans don’t change all that much year to year. If you’ve chosen to ditch the big, bright celebration near you this year for a party, you’re likely to see some of the same kinds of people as you would’ve seen at a bash partying like it’s 1999 — just minus the iPhones and Instagram.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to be the best holiday party guest ever, and some people could manage to be a terrible party guest without even knowing it. So grab your glittery 2020 glasses, pop some Champagne and practice the party small talk you’ll use on the 15 types of people you see at every New Year’s Eve party.
This person will let everyone’s dinner get cold while trying to cram the whole table into a group photo. (“Dana, you need to scrunch down!”) Then they’ll select the worst possible image of you (nice half-closed eyes), upload it and tag you without asking. Don’t try to talk to them either — they’ll spend the night heads-down over a phone, constantly checking for likes. If you really need to communicate, leave a comment on their post — it could be the only way to get their attention.
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Slightly different from the Social Media Obsessive, the Selfie Queen or King doesn’t really care about taking photos of other people at the party. You could be Beyoncé and you still might not make it into a photo (unless it’s a selfie, of course).
Ringing in the New Year filled with love is a beautiful thing — it’s just that not everyone at the party needs to watch it. This goes beyond the normal passionate kiss at midnight, this is an hours-long love fest of smooches and snuggles best kept to the privacy of one’s own home.
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Flirting comes naturally to him or her, and whether or not they came with a date, they’ll do their best to schmooze you. “You look good!” “Great festive outfit!” And no one escapes — married people, senior citizens, nuns, possibly pets — everyone is fair game for the Flirt. But their interest in you is probably time-limited. Like Cinderella’s coach, it vanishes at midnight, and you’ll never hear from them again.
No matter how hard you try, nothing can cheer up Debbie Downer (or Bob Bummer). She’s depressed about war, climate change, politics, her job and anything else that comes up. Try to find her the most upbeat person at the party to talk to, a real Pollyanna Positive. Like matter and antimatter, their collision will be epic.
If Debbie Downer only focused on her romantic relationships, you’d have the Sad Single. They have no one to kiss at midnight, and you’re going to hear about it. Get ready for a long monologue about how exactly they were dumped, what a war zone the dating world is and the agony of apps. Nod, smile and tell them “It’s going to happen for you.” Just make sure you’re far away from them when the clock strikes 12, and watch out for any hidden mistletoe.
Maybe you thought you were looking pretty good at this party, and you are. But the Fashionista would make a supermodel look like a scarecrow. It can be 30 below, and she’s decked out in an amazing short and sleeveless dress, with heels higher than the still-up Christmas tree, looking straight off the cover of Vogue.
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The Fashionisto spent as much on his outfit as you did on your laptop and he’s going to make sure you know about it. His grooming and prep session started around noon and ended five minutes ago. Are you coughing? That’s his cologne.
This party guest can seem charming at first, but be prepared for an avalanche of personal details that’ll bury you in information. You’ll learn about his or her job (complete with salary and bonus numbers), family relationships (they don’t talk to their mom and you’re going to know why), and their three most recent minor life crises (that one tire just keeps going flat).
Parties can be great places to make new friends, but not this friend. He or she just keeps dinging and won’t look up from the phone, even if you try to talk. The worst thing to watch out for is when you say something, are met with silence, and then they start typing frantically into their phone. Don’t worry, they’re not talking about you to their friends ... right?
If you can’t recite the win-loss records and sing the fight songs of every team in the SEC, you’re not in this person’s league. If they happen to talk to you at all, expect to hear about where they placed in their fantasy football league this year, where their team ranks in the NFL draft order, and something something about the over/under of the Something Something Bowl. You can probably get rid of them if you tell them there’s a TV upstairs that’s permanently tuned to ESPN.
He or she is just too cool. Their T-shirt touts a band you’ve never heard of, their beard oil is organic, their shoes are hand-sewn vegan leather and they’re going to ask if you mind if they vape.
This person is healthier than you, and boy, do they know it. Plus, they’re actually at the party looking for converts. Whether they’re paleo, vegan, an intermittent faster, doing Whole 30, low-carb, high-carb, low-protein, no-protein or injecting orange juice via an IV, the Health Nut has determined that everyone should follow their particular diet. Fortunately, they’re easy to scare away, just offer them an energy drink or a Pop-Tart.
Want to discuss the hot topics? And not just casually toss around some bullet points, but really get down and dirty to fight it out, so that no one remains friends at the end of the evening? The debate champion does. Whatever the topic, they’ll think they won because they’ll wear everyone else out. But just to be safe, here are 20 taboo topics to avoid at holiday parties.
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