1. You cannot have a serious conversation at a cocktail party. If you try, you will get interrupted, perhaps by a blast of music, a greeting, an arm around the shoulders or a kiss on the cheek, or a team of donkeys dragging a mariachi band on a float with seized wheel bearings. Whatever the means, you can be sure that an interruption will come, and someone will end up feeling slighted, put off, graceless, etc. Learn the skill of identifying incipient serious conversations and suggesting alternate times and places for them. A more appropriate venue might have loud music, crowds, and/or drunks, but not all three.
2. The cocktail party is a medium through which you swim. As fish are more effective swimmers than humans, so some partiers are more efficient at navigation than others.
3. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to boorish behavior such as spilling drinks on people and asking women their true age.
4. Insufficient alcohol consumption implies, and breeds, distrust.
5. You will encounter several species of partiers:
- Sloppy Drunk
- Knows Everybody But Says Nothing About How
- Aggro, subspecies Short Man Syndrome
- Girl With Painted-On Clothes
- Guy Who Won't Talk About Anything But Work
- No Speaka Inglais (At Least Not To You, Buddy)
- Long Story Teller
- Any Excuse Girl ("Lets Get Fucked Up Like The Economy" or "I Didn't Get Laid Off, Time To Get Laid")
- Wants Everybody To Think He's Casanova
- Wallflower (Mr. Livin' Vicariously and/or Ms. Inhibited)
- Lush, subspecies Tabletop Dancer, rare subtype Short Skirt No Underwear
- Hilarious Death-Defying Stories Guy
- Imperturbable Comic Foil (aka Straight Man)
- Member of the Permanent Floating Party Club
- Connoisseur, subtype Hates Everything And Insists That You Agree (aka Hipster)
- Mr. Way Too Loud To Have A Conversation With Or Even Near
- Uptight When Sober, Paranoid When Drunk
- Personal Space Issues ("Do Not Bump: Contents Under Pressure")
- Ms. Hotter Than Radioactive Waste
- Too Much Information Considering I Hardly Know You
- Non Sequitur Theater (may mention donkeys for no obvious reason)