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What time should you show up to a party? - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

What time should you show up to a party?

By Dale Shoemaker / Staff Writer

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Jackie Braithwaite had a set Friday night routine during her freshman year.

After her classes ended around 4 p.m., she’d go back to her dorm room in Holland Hall and study for an hour or two. Then, around 6 or 7 p.m., she would go to Market Central and eat dinner. After that, around 8 p.m., she would start to get ready to attend a party.

This is normal, especially among freshmen. It does not answer the question, however, of when one should show up to a party.

Over the summer, FiveThirtyEight, a polling and statistical analysis website, published an article analyzing when precisely people show up to parties. The writer, Walt Hickey, threw a joint birthday party at a bar in Manhattan and told people to show up at 7 p.m. Using the stopwatch on his phone, he tracked when each guest arrived. The median time of arrival, he wrote, was 7:37.

In the context of Pitt parties, Hickey’s data makes sense — most people who will attend a given party will be there 30 to 40 minutes after it starts. 

Braithwaite, a sophomore nursing student and member of Greek life, usually attended mixers — parties in which only her sorority was invited to a fraternity house — on Friday nights. This made it easy for her. She had to show up on time.

On time was usually 10 p.m., she said, and late was considered anytime after 10:30. Braithewaite said she and her friends usually left to walk to the party a little before 10 p.m.

Being on time, she said, is important.

“If [the sisters] say it starts at 10 and no one gets there until 10:30 [or] 10:45, that’s so annoying,” she said.

It’s not good to make the older brothers and sisters wait around when they’re hosting the mixer, she said.

“They’re gonna be pissed — they’re all there, ready [to start],” she said. “

Lizzie Goldner, also a sophomore nursing student and member of Greek life, said she had a similar experience last year. Even though she is not a freshman anymore, she still shows up to parties on time, she said, because it gives her a chance to mingle before the party gets too crowded and loud. 

Braithwaite agreed.

“You can actually talk to people [if you show up earlier],” she said. “You get to know more people.”

For other parties, an appropriate arrival time is unclear. House parties do not have the definitive rules that Greek life parties do.

Ryan Toth throws parties at his apartment some weekends.

When people show up, he said, depends on who was invited. When he decides to throw a party, he tells a small group of his close friends and then tells them to invite whoever they’d like to. He gives his address and tells everyone that the party will start around 9:30 or 10 p.m.

“We just throw it out there and see what happens,” Toth, a senior economics and political science major, said.

From there, he said, when people show up depends on how well they know him and his brother, with whom he shares an apartment.

His close friends will show up early, around 8 or 8:30 p.m. to help clean and prepare, he said, while friends, acquaintances and others will show up between 10 and 11, usually. By 11 p.m., the bulk of the party has arrived, but stragglers may show up even later.

People already at the party will have other friends text them, he said, and ask what’s going on that night. 

“[They’ll reply] ‘Oh we’re at a party at Toth’s, you should come,’” he said.

These stragglers will arrive between 11:30 and midnight, he said.

“The very last people to come are the people just … trolling the streets looking for open parties,” he said.

This happened a few weekends ago. Two guys walked up to his front porch while he was out smoking a cigarette and asked if “the rager” was still happening. He didn’t know them, he said, but he told them that it was.

“I charged them $5 and let them in,” he said.

It was after midnight when he let them in.

When to show up to a party is subjective. If one knows the host of the party, or most of the people who will be there—as in Braithwaite’s and Golder’s case—being early or on time is welcome. Otherwise, showing up 30 minutes or more late is acceptable.

“You want a good, nice relationship with anyone you party with,” Braithwaite said.

 It’s too bad classes aren’t the same way.

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What time should you show up to a party?