11/18/2013 04:20 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

The 5 Rules of Watching Football

With football season in full effect, game watching gatherings are probably a good portion of your social invites these days. And, Football can be a blast to watch with your buddies. But before you start accepting invitations to football viewing parties, there are some etiquette guidelines you may want to verse yourself in to ensure you'll be a good guest. Here are a few rules of the playing field known as the home gating party.

Take Calls Outside
There's nothing wrong with sneaking in a text or two during the game, but if mid-play your phone rings and you start jabbering away, consider yourself uncool. If you're not looking to make quick enemies, I suggest you take your calls in another room out of earshot, or return the call during a commercial or halftime.

Don't Stand in Front of the TV
It's easy enough to find yourself in the midst of a conversation, absentmindedly drifting towards the television. But watch where you're going. The last place you want to end up is in front of the television blocking the game changing play from everyone's view. A momentary pause is acceptable, but anything more than that, and you're just looking for trouble.

Don't Claim a Seat as "Yours"
Usually when you're watching the game anywhere other than a bar or stadium, there are more bodies than there are seats. Be aware of this, and don't get territorial. You may have spent an hour or two in the corner of the couch, but after you make a phone call, use the bathroom, and help yourself to seconds, don't expect that seat to be there waiting for you when you get back. If you get up, you lose it. And, it's good manners to let someone have that spot for a while, so don't stay put through the entire game either.

Keep Your Cheering to a Minimum
Just because you're watching the game with a group of friends doesn't mean you're all rooting for the same team. Even if you and your crew are on the same page, someone may bring along a second cousin or brother-in-law whose loyalties are with the big bad other. Be respectful. Cheering for your team is great, but not at the expense of alienating or insulting anyone. Keep it light, refrain from too many obscenities, and if your team loses, don't make it personal.

Don't Get Wasted!
You can apply this rule to pretty much any party you ever go to. Watch yourself with the alcohol. The fun, drunk guy is the life of the party until he becomes the guy you have to worry about getting home. Don't let it come to that. Football games can be long. Pace yourself, make sure to eat throughout the day, and for every alcoholic drink you consume, make sure to have one or two glasses of water simultaneously.

Watching the game with friends is an awesome bonding experience when you play by the rules. Now you know them, so happy football viewing!


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.