A Mathematical Formula for the Right Time to Show Up at a Party



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A Mathematical Formula for the Right Time to Show Up at a Party - The Atlantic

We made an interactive calculator—with help from a mathematician—that bypasses the confusion about what “fashionably late” means and tells you definitively when to arrive.​

My role at parties is, unfortunately, to be the one who shows up way before everyone else. Even when I actively try to show up later, to seem more like a normal human, I still somehow end up among the first to walk in the door.

I was generally spared this fate earlier in the pandemic, when many parties became dangerous and I had far fewer to attend. Now that parties are back for many people, so is the timeless question of when you should show up. Because if you arrive at the stated start time, chances are that, like me, you’ll be the first one there.

The optimal arrival time accounts for several different, sometimes competing considerations: If you’re the first one there, it can be a little awkward (trust me), and the host might not be quite ready. If you show up long after everyone else, you might miss the best parts or risk rudeness. Most likely, you want to arrive just as the party’s gaining real momentum, a Goldilocks window of time that’s neither early nor late.