06/20/2013 02:33 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2013

How to Not be a Jerk at a Summer Party

By the time summer arrives pretty much all we want to do is celebrate. And we're in luck because summer is full of BBQs and pool parties. But in all the excitement we have to remember not to lose our heads. So to help keep yours on straight, I've put together a few guidelines to follow on how to not be a jerk at a summer party.

Slow Your Slurping

No one wants to be remembered as the annoying drunk at a party. That third piña colada might seem harmless while you're sipping it in your lounge chair, but just wait until you stand up. Limit yourself to a number of drinks you know you can handle, minus one, and don't forget to eat throughout the day.

Don't P in the ool
You know how your parents told you when you were little that if you peed in the pool, a the water around you would turn green? Well, they were lying. But kids know better and so should you! Get yourself out of the water and into the restroom at the first signal. The fun will still be going on when you get back, I promise.

Don't Panic
The last thing a party needs is a drunk guest who can't find their keys. Ask the host where to put your bag when you first get to the party, and leave your keys in it. That way when your designated driver is ready to take you home at the end of the night, you can skip the intoxicated panic that's sure to be a buzz kill.

Keep it Simple
Ice cream sandwiches are a summer staple, but not after they sit on a tray for 5 minutes in the sun. Stay away from heavy foods too. Anything hot or creamy is probably a no-go. Try lighter fare like salads, fruit platters, grilled veggies and avoid anything that can go bad fast like cured meat and mayo.

Mind your Manners
Kids are usually around at parties, as is the occasional protective pregnant woman so lay off the shots and smoking in their midst. I don't think I have to explain why smoking around a pregnant mom or child is a bad idea. But, watch what you say, i.e. no cursing. Kids may look innocent, but they repeat everything they hear and you could start something that takes weeks to cure.

Bring a Gift
Just because it feels relaxed doesn't mean a lot of work doesn't go into setting up and cleaning up the party. Show some appreciation. Gifts can be as simple as outdoor bar ware, yard games, or a coffee table book.

Last but not least, don't forget to have fun! This list isn't mean to be a vibe-killer, just some tips to keep in the back pocket of your shorts this summer. You can thank me later!

Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert who acts as Editor in Chief of and the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, Associated Press, Fox & Friends, TODAY in NY and many more.