While a Super Bowl party may seem like a fine mid-winter's social occasion, experts stress that some pre-game preparation and in-the-moment awareness will help you come through with friendships intact.
The bottom-line advice for Super Bowl partygoers:
That means no chit chat that's not football related. No leaning over in front of fans to clear away plates or glasses. No accidentally cheering for the wrong team.
And no casually walking past the television set, blocking views -- seriously, not even for two seconds. Dawn Strain, an event planner in Bethpage, learned that lesson at a Super Bowl party a few years back.
"I was not even thinking," says Strain, 38, who recalls the crowd's shouting, "GET OUT OF THE WAY."
Here's a Super Bowl etiquette primer:
Know the basics. The Giants will be wearing their white road jerseys. The Patriots will be in blue jerseys. So, no need to shout above the cheers -- or groans, "Who just scored?"
Stick to football. "No off-topic conversation" during the heat of the game, says Michael Cohen, advice columnist for The Huffington Post, who grew up in Merrick. That means no inquiries as to Aunt Bessie's health, requests for dip recipes or launching into election talk.
Bring good snacks. In this case, that means all things bad, "anything not low-fat or diet or healthy," says Meyerowitz, 27.
Respect others. Cohen, 39, who is not a football fan but hosted a Super Bowl party a few years back, says he and his non-football fan guests "had to exercise Super Bowl etiquette. You have to respect the game," he says. "This is a day not to be selfish." Conversely, at this year's halftime show, "when Madonna comes on, I don't want anybody interrupting me watching her."
No consolation. If the Giants lose, and assuming you'll be with New Yorkers, steer clear of platitudes such as, "Better luck next year," says Michelle Johnson, 36, an event coordinator and a football fan -- though not of the Giants -- in Deer Park. Indeed, this may be the only time to shift the conversation away to something like politics, she says.