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5 Things You Should Never Do as a Plus-One, According to Etiquette Experts

Avoid acting like this when you're invited to accompany someone to an event or get-together.

When we attend a loved one's wedding or go to our friend's house for a dinner party, we often have a certain level of comfort because we know the host personally. But when you go somewhere as the guest of a guest, there's added pressure to be on your best behavior. After all, how you come across can reflect poorly on the person who invited you to accompany them. To help you avoid any potential social slights, we talked to etiquette experts about what to consider when your name isn't the one on the invite. Read on to find out the five things they say you should never do as a plus-one.

READ THIS NEXT: The 6 Best Things to Ask Guests to Bring—If They Offer.

Shy away from socializing


When you're invited to a party as a plus-one, there's a good chance you might only really know the person you came with. But that doesn't mean you should cling to them and avoid communicating with anyone else, according to Guillaume Drew, a hosting expert and the founder of Or & Zon.

"It's simple, you either decline an invitation or be open to socializing," Drew says. "It's rude not to, and people will assume that you're too snobby."

Engage in controversial conversations

Shot of a group of young men having drinks at a dinner party outdoors

But at the same time, don't take things too far for the sake of socializing. Jodi Smith, a nationally-known etiquette consultant and founder of Mannersmith, says you should be "very cautious about sharing your personal opinions about inflammatory topics" when you're the guest of another guest—especially if it's a professional event.

In other words, don't throw your two cents into any controversial conversations being had, and definitely don't start them yourself.

"Your role is to support the person who invited you, and you may not know the leanings of others in the room," Smith explains. "There is a time and place for contentious debate—as a plus-one is not the time."

Drink too much

Woman drinking a cocktail.

It's also important to watch how much you drink during these situations, according to Smith. "There may be an open bar or wait staff constantly refilling your wine glass, but you are not the guest," she says. "You should never get drunk—you need to be sure to keep your wits about you."

Jessica Miller, a licensed mental health counselor with over 10 years of experience, recommends that most people stick to just one or two drinks when they are someone's plus-one.

"You must recognize your limits and do it responsibly," Miller warns. "Overindulging might result in awkward circumstances, disrespectful conduct, or a hassle for your host. Instead, pace yourself and be conscious of the effects of alcohol on you."

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Put down the invited guest

Cropped shot of a group of friends celebrating a birthday outdoors

Publicly critiquing the person you came with can negatively reflect back on you and them. If you put down your friend or partner in front of other people—even in a joking manner—it may cause others to think about them differently, according to Angelique Snyder, PsyD, a pediatric psychologist who often works on social behavior with her clients.

"It may make others less likely to hang out with them," she cautions.

This means you should also avoid starting an argument with the invited guest as their plus-one, Drew says. "It will take [only] a second for people to know that there's something off between you and them," he explains.

Dismiss the dress code


It's not just what you do that may cause problems for the person you came with. How you look is also important at the end of the day, Miller warns. So if there's a certain way you should dress for the event, do so.

"Ignoring the dress code for the occasion may cause you to stand out incorrectly," she says.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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