Don’t throw food at the TV and other Super Bowl party etiquette tips

Did you know that about 20 million Americans will attend Super Bowl parties? That’s a lot of partying! With so many people celebrating, there are plenty of opportunities for etiquette mistakes.

I asked my Clise Etiquette Facebook fans for their Super Bowl party etiquette tips. I was amused by a few, shocked by others and agreed with most of them. Many of the tips were good reminders for any party. I’ve added in a few of my own guidelines.

Our first tip by a fan is to only show up if you were invited. And, several people mentioned when you show up as an invited guest, don’t show up empty handed.

There was quite a bit of discussion about what is and isn’t appropriate to bring. Apparently a Taco Bell 12 pack is gauche, but a bucket of Ezell’s Chicken will gain you points. When it comes to bringing beer, one fan said if you bring a beer that you know the host is not serving bring enough to share. In her words, “being a beer miser is bad form”. I would add, bring a premium beer, not the cheap stuff.

One fan said not to complain about the beer selection the host supplies, but he felt it was okay to gripe about the beer’s temperature. Hmmm, I’m thinking there was some humor in his comment. Either way, I say no griping at all. If you’re a guest, be gracious and appreciative of whatever you are served.

A few fans commented on food etiquette. One person said no double dipping, and not to throw food at the TV. I’m wondering what kind of parties she goes to.

Another person said to mind the chicken wings. She wrote that people need to use napkins and to “be in charge of their own chicken bones. Throw them in the garbage – don’t leave them in a pile for everyone to see or for the hostess to pick up.” My comment – Ewww!

For those non-football fans, like me, a couple of people had some good advice. One person said to do some research about football and who’s playing before you show up so you don’t continually ask annoying questions. Another fan implied it’s best to not go to a Super Bowl party just for the food if you’re really not into the game. She too mentioned the annoyance factor.

One Clise Etiquette Facebook fan commented that if you don’t care about the game, engage in conversation in a different room, or removed enough from the TV so that your conversation doesn’t interfere with those who do care about the game.

I’d like to add, that the same rules apply for the commercials and the halftime show. While there are many who will see those times as an opportunity to talk and get food, those of us who are not football fans but who do like watching the ads and the halftime performance would appreciate being able to hear them.

One of my fans wrote that “the Super Bowl is about football not the commercial nor halftime shows”. But I disagree. I think it’s all part of the fun.

Here are some tips on fan behavior. A friend said “don’t jump up and down and scream at the top of your lungs. Be happy and cheer and all, but don’t get carried away.” I agree and would add, while expressing your excitement when your team is playing well is expected, taunting those who support the other team is not cool. If your team loses, be a good sport. Repeat after me, it’s just a game.

A few final tips, all mine. When the game is over, help the host(ess) clean up, and don’t overstay your welcome. Be sure to send a note or email thanking your host(s) for inviting you to the party.

Whether you’re a Ravens or a 49ers fan, may the best team win, and may your manners get you a repeat invitation for the Super Bowl XLVIII party.

What tips would you add to the list? Are there any you disagree with?


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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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