One of the best parts of New Year's Eve (other than preparing for a fresh start) is the parties. You must go. To maybe a few. And you must be prepared for what you'll encounter. Or, more specifically, who you'll encounter.
It's not an exact science, but we've determined in our years of New Year's Eve party anthropological analyses that there are seven distinct species native to the New Year's Eve party. Proceed with caution.
The over-anxious, fireworks-obsessed host
How to spot them: He/she is the one dressed very nicely, hovering over hors d'oeuvres, looking at the clock frantically as though there's some way (some way!!) you'll miss midnight. Side note: No one ever overlooks midnight on New Year's Eve. This person is probably insane.
How to approach: Slowly and with a smile. It'll smooth their nerves — for two minutes.
What to say: First, compliment them on the party. It's fun. Second, offer to help usher the group to a designated countdown spot — a rooftop deck, a TV screen, whatever. Third, slap them if they become hysterical.
The one who only wants to talk about football
How to spot them: Is "SportsCenter" on? They're watching.
How to approach: Don't speak if they're watching highlights. Stand close (but not too close), watch with them and listen to their feelings. They want someone to listen to their feelings.
What to say: Do a little research on the big bowl games, but ignore the weird ones like the Home Depot Lumber Bowl. If they bring up the obscure bowls, pretend to take a phone call.
The one who's already drunk
How to spot them: They're drunk.
How to approach: With a group. There's nothing worse than being caught alone (and non-drunk) with a drunk person at a party
What to say: "Happy New Year!" and that's all.
How to spot them: They have a sly smile, a self-important look and are likely talking someone's ears off about a promotion, a vacation or how this year was the best ever but next year will really be freaking awesome.
How to approach: Don't.
What to say: We told you not to approach, but if you get caught try either of these: 1) A simple congratulations or 2) Create a more interesting 2013 tale. You went scuba diving with a Cousteau relative, perhaps. Or invented a handy kitchen gadget.
How to spot them: They don't look like they want to be there.
How to approach: Bring them a drink or a plate of food, introduce yourself and prepare to listen to how sucky their year was.
What to say: "I'm sorry your beagle died and Christy at work was annoying this year, but 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 ' comes out next year!"
The overly affectionate couple
How to spot them: Too. Much. Kissing. And. Cuddling.
How to approach: Look, we're a sap about love. And these people are probably spending their first New Year's Eve together as a couple. But you've got to have a significant other (or at least) a friend with you if you want to engage this duo. They only see things in two.
What to say: Talk to each one separately — and talk about non-relationship things such as work, the environment and the stock market. If they start answering together with "Well, WE ...." then slowly back away.
The one who wants to be kissed
How to spot them: They look like Charlie Brown.
How to approach: Wait until midnight.
What to say: Nothing. Just a kiss on the cheek. After all, everyone deserves this on New Year's Eve.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun