The housewarming is a potential minefield for the unprepared guest. You need to feign interest in the garden, make obsequious comments about the décor and give the general impression that it is the nicest home you have ever set foot in, even if it smells of rotting fish, is next door to a factory that produces deadly chemicals and has a garden barely big enough to accommodate a braai. If you are like me you have one extra concern – dealing with the bore.
We’ve done some research and have five tips to help the hapless guest survive even the worst of housewarmings.
1. Arrive late. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, by arriving late you might just miss the obligatory tour of the residence. I have no problem uttering phrases such as, “Bedrooms are roomy” or “Your garden looks great” but I honestly am yet to think of positive comments for guest toilets and tool sheds. The second reason for arriving early is that you’ll have to park your car closest to the exit, which brings me to the next point.
2. Leave early. You’ll need to plan in advance for this one. When you first receive the invitation you will need to think of an excuse as quickly as possible. Offer to attend but be sure to mention that you are doing something important on that same day, such as preparing for an exam, fetching an aunt from the airport or having your tonsils and appendix removed.
3. Be sneaky with your gift. The problem with housewarmings, and many celebratory occasions, is that you will be required to give a gift. There will always be at least one person who buys an incredibly expensive gift and makes your offering of toenail clippers look even worse. The key here is to claim that you forgot the gift in your car, and then when no one is keeping an eye on you, sneak it and leave it hidden somewhere. With any luck it will be discovered a few days later when the novelty of the expensive gift has worn off.
4. Be anti-social. I mentioned earlier that I attract bores, braggers and people that in social situations, everyone else avoids. I tend to humour them and smile and nod at their tall tales but I think that many housewarming, birthday and New Year’s parties would have been infinitely more enjoyable if I had it in me to call people out on the fibs they tell. By saying things like, “You don’t seem fit enough to have finished the Argus so quickly” or “If you’re so wealthy why do you drive such an old car” you’ll make boastful types feel uncomfortable and leave. Or be asked to leave. It’s a win-win situation.
5. Take a horrible date. If you are single, having an annoying date can help kill a party quickly. Your date needs to be a fussy eater, have questionable hygiene, make inappropriate comments and flirt with other guests.