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101 Ways to Ruin a Party

You've been to a party. Here is every possible way to ruin it.

by Joel Golby; photos by Bruno Bayley
May 1 2018, 1:08pm

(All photos: Bruno Bayley)

You have probably been to a party in your lifetime. If you have not: you're a fucking nerd and I want you off this website. The rest of you, stay.

Parties are fun and good and cool. Parties are often the places where you enjoy your firsts: first kiss, first fingering, first extremely fat line of coke, first frenetic coke chat, first time you ordered some additional coke on top of the already quite large amount of coke you'd already consumed. Parties are there through every stage of our lives: jelly-and-ice-cream, teen rebellion, mid-twenties apathy, turning 30 and smoking loads of cigs about it. Listen: you know what a party is. I'm not going to explain partying to you.

But partying can go wrong, too, and it’s most often your fault. Parties revolve around a fragile, ethereal central vibe, and it can be irreparably ruined by one simple stroke of idiocy (yours). You knock over an expensive lamp, for instance, or drink a forbidden bottle of wine. You pull a cupboard door entirely off the hinges. You do something atrocious in the bathroom. You try to talk about politics. There are a lot of ways you – you – can ruin a party, and once it’s ruined, there’s no coming back from it.

See this less as a fun listicle and more a set of guidelines: follow these, read these sins, never enact them on Earth. Here are 101 ways to ruin a party:

TOILET

1. If you’re going to fuck in the toilet, take no longer than five minutes to fuck in the toilet. If you’re going to fuck for any longer than that, go outside and shag in the cold-wet thrill of the grass and the leaves.

2. If you're doing drugs in the toilet, be fucking quick about it. Don’t sit in the bath with the door locked, talking about how high you are, when people legitimately need a wee.

3. Don't shit at a party, I s2g.

4. Don’t vomit in a sink.

5. Don’t vomit in the bath.

6. Vomiting at parties, a quick guide: do not, don’t do it, don’t.

7. Don’t vomit in someone’s house plant (for some reason drunk people think it’s extremely subtle to vomit in a house plant).

8. Don’t vomit out of a window, either; that never goes as well as you think it’s going to go.

9. I mean, we should probably loop back round to shitting: don’t shit in a toilet, as mentioned, but don’t shit anywhere that isn’t a toilet either. One nameless VICE staffer reports that someone just shat, like, in a corner at one of his parties once. Just like, against and down a wall. Don’t do that. Like: why would you shit down a wall? I’m looking for a motive. And: how drunk have you got that you’ve shat down a wall? Not next to a wall: down a wall. At a party. While other people were there. How? How? How?

DRUGS

10. There is such a thing as "getting the K out too early". Don’t get the K out too early; it brings with it something dreadful. (A good rule of thumb: "K O'Klock" is dusk.)

11. Don’t invite your drug dealer in, either. I know you’re half-high and just trying to be nice, but it’s a really dark vibe, sorry. It’s just always a guy in a really long trench coat sitting in a corner fully smoking, even though everyone knows the rule is to go outside to smoke.

12. Don’t get absolutely shitfaced and start asking everyone if they actually like you, because the Actually Like You Conversation (A. L. Y. C.) is a false promise: even if they do, actually, like you, they will no longer (actually) like you by the end of a 20-minute conversation about whether they like you or not, which involves you almost crying twice and actually crying once, and at some point saying "I'm not a bad person, you know? I’m not like. A bad person. I’m a good person, you know? But I’m not like… a bad person."

13. Possibly personal to me and me alone, this one, but: don’t get high and ask people, like, "What is the biggest regret of your life?" Because nothing busts a mood open like that does.

14. Anyone who has opinions on – or anything more than a minute-long conversation about – weed should be carefully frogmarched out of the party and ideally out of the country.

15. OD'ing at a Party: A Bad Vibe™

16. If you're going to go halves with someone at the party when ordering a gram (or whatever the scale up is: two grams between four noses, &c. &c.) then don’t be tight about portioning up the drugs between you, and don’t try to make off with other people’s drugs, because that’s how things escalate into fights, isn't it, and getting sparked out at a party for scooping a heavy half-gram into a folded up Lotto ticket is possibly the least cool thing you can ever do.

17. Please don’t be a beg about other people’s drugs. If you really need any more than one portion of drugs, get your own drugs.

SEX

18. Sex is tricky, because there is something in the air at parties – there is some electric thrill in the very oxygen of the place where everyone is having a good time and doing carefree laughing – that makes you very horny. But also: being horny is the least cool thing on Earth, so it’s tricky, isn’t it.

19. I think we can all agree that hitting on people at a party unless they are actively very into it is a hard no. If you get any sort of "no thank you" vibe from them then just walk away and make yourself a vodka–coke w/ no ice alone in the kitchen. Maybe order an Uber about it, go home alone. A good motto to live by is: 'When it's party time, horniness is a crime."

20. That said, sometimes parties are a good time to flirt with someone when you’ve already flirted with them before, so again, you really have to read the room, but

21. I personally feel that having sex in a stranger's (or, actually, friend's!) bed at a party is a crime that deserves the death penalty (if any of my friends have sex in my bed ever, I will kill them! If you jizz on my blanket I will slaughter your mum!) but some people get a sick sort of thrill out of it, don’t they.

22. I just really: I think the rule is, truly, don’t fuck at parties, unless you absolutely have to. Like: you have to.

23. I know it’s fun to walk out of a small cupboard or locked bedroom having just illicitly cum somewhere, but I really think this behaviour needs to be quashed, sorry.

24. Okay, last one, but here are the reasons it’s bad:
i) You’re either, let’s face it, on someone’s bed or on the toilet and neither are comfortable, either emotionally or physically;
ii) Nine times out of ten someone will walk in on you and see your horrid cum face;
iii) Impossible to finish because you’re too aware that someone will walk in on you, unless you’re into that sort of thing, in which case go and fuck in a park like a normal person;

CHAT

25. DON’T talk about work, oh my god.

26. Do you actually realise how boring your job is? Your job is so, so, so so boring. We’re at a party to get away from the reality of life, please stop moaning about "Debbie from the Reading office" who is currently "sending you too many emails". Just delete them. Delete them!

27. This goes for politics, too. Just because you keep saying "Hansard" and know who Yvette Cooper is, doesn’t mean anyone wants to hear about it while they’re trying to microwave a plate.

28. This isn’t a party ruiner, per se, but just good advice to improve your life: don't make plans to do ANYTHING, with ANYONE, ever, at a house party.

29. Avoid wherever possible being that one person who, after like three drinks, decides they need to be extremely close to your face for you to hear them.

30. It is OK to ask people who bring up viral videos – and then actually pause the conversation to find and play the viral video – to leave your house.

31. One very good way to spoil a party is to get caught in one of those 45-minutes-of-standing-awkwardly-in-a-corner conversations with someone who asks if you want to go to the smoking area because the music is too loud to carry on a chat you really don't want to have.

SMOKING

32. For some reason the designated smoking area at parties always turns into its own splinter-party, and that’s fine. But when it gets to the point that non-smokers are standing coldly outside to try to get involved with it – i.e. the splinter-party has stolen the main vibe from the inside, actual party, and so for people to enjoy the party section of the party they have to put a coat on and go outside – then you have a problem on your hands that can only really be fixed by letting off a fire extinguisher or something.

33. Stealing people’s cigarettes all night when you’re right next to a shop is bad etiquette, don’t do that.

34. Please don’t talk about your vape rig.

35. If someone uses a nice candle you have, or one of your actual dinner plates, as an ashtray, then the party is over.

36. This also goes for anyone who just taps ash out on the floor like a fucking animal.

FIGHTING

37. Fighting is wonderful, and watching two lads pathetically scuffle on a rain-slick pavement while the soft pulsating noise of a party happens behind them is some of the only free joy left in this world.

38. You know when boys are fighting, but nobody really wants to throw a punch, so they sort of just aggressively hug until one of the guys' top rides up and everyone can see the top bit of his butt-crack, and then he has, by default, lost the fight. Great stuff.

39. No, honestly, though, don’t bring pre-formed beef to the party: any fights that crack out should happen organically.

40. Also, if there is to be a fight it needs to be sorted quickly, and both the fighters have to leave immediately after, even if it’s v funny. You need one bloke who goes to the gym a lot to act as a referee, and at least five yelling girls to run in if things get too tasty, shouting "NO! HE’S NOT WORTH IT!"

41. Rules are: no bottling, no attacking the teeth, no major injuries. Leaving a party in a neck brace isn’t A Look.

PARTY GAMES AND GENERAL ACTIVITIES

42. No stopping the party to make a speech.

43. Drinking games are for students who legitimately say the word "prinks" out loud, with their mouth. They are for nobody else.

44. Theory: I believe it is possible to "pre-ruin" the vibe of a party by over-planning it on Facebook, so anything more than two notification-pushing updates to the initial "here is a party date and here is a party venue" post means the party will be bad, with each additional notification pushed out to the (rapidly dwindling) RSVP list incrementally making the eventual party worse by one degree.

45. Weirdly, though, it does go two ways, and not organising properly can also doom a party vibe. Messaging the group chat a full three months beforehand asking people to "save the date" for their birthday, then not actually organising anything until the day before, is always doomed for failure. You have to at once try and not try to plan a party.

46. No themes, though. Absolutely no themes.

47. Mild theft ruins every party. Stealing from a party home is a they-invented-an-extra-level-of-hell-for-this kind of sin.

48. Try not to have a nervous cat at a party: it saddens the drunk people who want to engage with a loving or normal cat, and it also ruins the cat.

49. It’s also ill-advised to have any sort of living fish present at a party, because it will die.

50. A dog should not be at a party. A dog should never be at a party. A dog is a very pure, innocent being that should not have to see me do coke off a big mirror I took out of someone’s room which still has quite a lot of make-up detritus on it, so that I am basically high on a combination of cheap cocaine and Fenty 220, and a dog is watching, sad.

51. DO NOT GET A TATTOO AT A HOUSE PARTY. DO NOT TRUST A GUY WHO BRINGS A TATTOO GUN TO A HOUSE PARTY. DO NOT GET A TATTOO AT A HOUSE PARTY.

DRINKING

52. If you’re going to volunteer to be the past-midnight "beer hero" who goes on a drinks run when most of the immediately available shops are closed, please ensure that you actually make the mission and come back to the party within half an hour of announcing your intent, because for some reason these trips always end up with three very drunk people all getting distracted at once, getting an Uber to a Tesco Extra that turns out to be a two-hour round-trip away, and when they come back everyone has either left or fallen asleep or are just quietly watching trippy YouTube videos while sat in a corner drinking warm neat gin, and talking in tender voices about their best ever Glastonbury experiences, and now they really don’t want three loud lads with four bags of cans singing "OLÉ OLÉ, OLÉ OLÉ" and getting this whole sorry evening started again.

53. House party drinks are: beer; cider, if you must; greasy supermarket vodka mixed w/ literally any mixer. The B-team drinks are only for when you run out of the above: gin, Jägermeister, someone’s weird silent housemate who goes and gets his bedroom bottle of whiskey. No wine, no champagne. This isn’t the Queen’s garden, mate.

54. IMO drinking the dregs of old, bad alcohol that nobody actually wants – lukewarm gin mixed with tap water, an old half-bottle of Midori – is the true spirit of partying, and that 2AM cocktail of "Tia Maria and almond milk" should be cherished. That said, if you run out of tins at midnight on the dot and don’t have a back-up plan, you have irrevocably fucked it.

55. Don’t have a "cocktail mixing area" or any of that shit.

56. Don’t have a big bowl of communal punch; drinking from a communal bowl is like slurping water out of a toilet.

57. It is OK to ask that weird lad who brings two large bottles of obscure bitter continental supermarket beer and then puts them on the table and instead tucks into the nicer shared lagers to leave and never come back.

MUSIC

58. Coke Songs are great, but need to be strictly monitored. Everyone has a Coke Song – mine is "Radar Detector" by Darwin Deez, I’m afraid, which my body is compelled to listen to exactly once when it is high (if you're not sure what your Coke Song is, your Coke Song is "Mr. Brightside") – and you are allowed a Coke Song amnesty hour between about 2 and 3AM, but then the Coke Song vibes have to stop quite immediately.

59. Similarly, if one lad insists on playing a "chill dance set" off YouTube at 3AM and sits down cross-legged by the laptop for an hour to make sure nobody changes it, then the rest of the party should conspire to beat or injure him.

60. It’s good to have someone solely in charge of music for a while, but don’t let them call themselves "the DJ", because the power of it just goes straight to their head.

61. People who insist on full volume music: ask them to leave.

62. People who repeatedly turn the music down: ask them to leave.

63. Anyone who grabs the AUX chord in the manner you see American sports fans attempt to desperately catch a baseball that is fired their way from the field: A.T.T.L.

64. Anyone who decides they can MC, and then MCs: you gotta ask them to leave.

65. Rapping along to any rap song that is played: that’s a leave offence, good buddy.

66. Don’t put on "Ignition (Remix)" at any point – it’s a banger, but it’s not worth the fucking conversations about it afterwards.

67. Don’t whip out your guitar.

68. Don’t perform there with your band.

69. This goes out personally to the VICE US writer who came to my house party once and put on The Doors (???), said, "No guys, listen to the notes!" (???) then inexplicably did The Worm for a bit: don’t do that, Drew.

LOCATION

70. If you’re at a house party location, stay there and don’t fuck with it. Nothing ruins a vibe like shouting "back to mine!" and spending 15 minutes organising a fleet of Ubers to go south-west for a wholesale location change.

71. Don’t lock the door to any rooms; it makes it far too enticing for me, and I WILL bust my way in.

72. Also, tidy your room before you’re having people over, you slob. I don’t want to see any DVD collections spilled on the floor or an old plate with food on it.

73. That said, nothing ruins a party like someone who is so house-proud that they keep moving vases and going around to replace people’s drinking glasses with plastic cups.

74. If you’re having a party, just assume you’re going to take about £100 worth of damage to your house and write it off before anyone even has their first can.

DURATION

75. Know when to call it. Finished by midnight: too early. Finished by 6AM: just about right, bleary eyed Ubers home as the sun slowly rises. Still going at 3PM the next day: mate, ur gonna die.

76. Never be "the stranger who sleeps on the sofa".

77. See also: when it’s very clearly home time, don’t play fuckabout by doing the "how do I get home? / my phone is dead / no wait I’ve lost it / where’s the nearest cashpoint / do you mind citymappering the journey for me / actually can you order me an Uber? It’s not working for me" routine; it’s very annoying for everyone involved.

FOOD

78. Ordering pizza to a party seems like a good idea but it’s actually not.

79. Ditto snacks. Any bowls of crisps is gonna have a drink spilled into it. Any non-crisp food stuffs will be dropped on the floor or smushed into a carpet. It’s a good idea to entirely empty your fridge before a party, because some drunk lad will end up just eating handfuls of capers.

GUESTLIST

80. Don’t bring your prick boyfriend.

81. Don’t bring anyone who can’t possibly be left alone at a party, because they won’t talk to anyone, they’ll just look at their phone.

82. Don’t bring two halves of a couple who once went out and now don’t. I don’t care if the friendship groups overlap – pick a side and stick to it.

83. Don’t invite anyone who doesn’t know anyone: you’ll spend your whole evening with them hovering behind your shoulder and silently sipping Carling, waiting for you to introduce them to literally everyone at the party.

84. Don’t invite eight people from a French skate team who don’t know anyone, don’t talk to anyone, drink all the beer, then leave (again, this might be extremely niche, might happen at every house party, idk).

CRYING

85. Don’t cry at my fucking party.

DYING

86. Don’t die or have any sort of medical emergency at a party, it’s a spectacularly bad vibe.

THE NEIGHBOURS

87. If the neighbours knock on your door and ask you to turn it down, recall that this is Britain and that they have probably been wrestling with the idea of coming over and knocking on your door – 'They’ll quieten down, soon,' they think, tossing and turning in bed, 'I’m sure of it. I’m sure' – for like three hours before they finally worked up the guts to do it, and once they start knocking they won’t stop until, at 20-minute intervals throughout the night, you keep agreeing to incrementally turn the music down, and then they call the police anyway. If your neighbours knock and complain, move the party instantly from "the Coke Song hour" to "the Chill Zone", and tell everyone in the smoking area outside to shut the fuck up, and you’ll save yourself a whole evening’s worth of aggro and a whole year of passive aggressive knocking on the floor whenever you turn the TV up too loud.

FASHION

88. No flip-flops.

89. Don’t get naked: it’s not nearly as much of a vibe as you think.

90. Same with turning the thing into an orgy: it’s really Too Much.

NOTES AND ERRATA

91. If there is any way of getting YouTube to play on your TV, I suggest you turn that off before a party, because the only thing that’s going to get played on that is old Boiler Room sets and, in my own personal case, I once very much ruined the vibe of a party by playing assorted sketches from the show Big Train while sitting slightly too close to the screen and turning around and shushing everyone when a good line was coming up.

92. If someone mildly famous turns up, cancel the party, ask everyone to leave, it’s completely ruined now.

93. For some reason, at six out of ten house parties some drunk lad will try to make an oven pizza. It is your job to identify who is going to do this and stop them before they set a fire alarm off.

94. Periodically check your freezer for cans of beer. Some dipshit always ends up leaving a Red Stripe in there "to cool down faster", then forgets about it entirely and it explodes into a rigid foam.

95. Jumping off the roof into a swimming pool – if your party is anywhere other than a carefully stage-managed set on a film about American students letting loose at college – is a bad idea.

96. Some drunk guy will always insist on tidying up before he leaves, and you think it’s quite harmless, but 45 minutes have gone by and he’s still clonking about with a recycling bag while you’re just trying to go to sleep. Ask him to leave.

97. Hide your books where possible. Sometimes a lad will grab some meta-fiction from a book shelf and go "is this good?" and then sit in a corner and actually fucking read it.

98. Don’t lock yourself and others away in a bedroom; party segregation is not the wave.

99. Forbid anyone who says "I’ve got work tomorrow" from ever being your friend again.

100. Ditto to anyone who does anything that punctures those fragile delicate party hours between 4AM and 7AM, like "acknowledging the time, out loud, with your mouth".

101. Sitting on kitchen surfaces is forbidden.

101. a. Okay, I did too many, you’re just going to have to bear with me:

101. b. Don’t shit on the dance floor.

101. c. Don’t try to start a dance floor; dance floors should occur organically. But yeah, don’t shit on them once they do start.

101. d. Don’t turn sesh conversations into personal counselling sessions. Just because you read a book about wellness, it does not make you qualified for this.

101. e. Don’t use anyone’s expensive skincare products at a party – you’re drunk you don’t need to moisturise.

101. f. Don’t spill beer on the carpet IT’S NOT THAT HARD TO HOLD A BEER.

101. g. Don’t: forget to have lots of fun! That’s the most important thing. Have a lot of good, safe, clean fun. Do not, under any circumstances, invite me.

@joelgolby

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

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