African American man drinking at backyard barbecue

Source: Granger Wootz / Getty

It’s about that time. Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer and you know folks are having those last barbecues of the season. If you’ve been handling your business while the weather’s been warm—whether it’s networking at work, hustling to start a side biz, getting your summer savage on, or all three—you’re likely in high demand. You have to make an appearance but the question is how and of course, when.

Like all things, barbecue hopping with finesse requires some forethought. CASSIUS has got you covered. Make the most out of your Monday BBQ grind by using a little strategy. Keep reading.

Work Friend

Networking events are a must. When a business associate invites you to an event it’s an opportunity to make a personal connection, which always helps with future deals and opportunities. Make this your first stop. Get there at the official start time. Do a little research before the the event so you know who’s in the room and prep something to discuss. Last, if the event is at a house, be sure to bring a something  (wine, dessert, etc…) for the host (make sure what you have can be shared by at least 8-10 people). Stay for at least an hour— even if the event is dry as hell— and let your host know when you’re heading out.

Potential Bae

This is your chance to make a great impression. Get there early enough to chat up her friends before the place gets too packed but not so early that you seem pressed (about an hour after the start time… and a little later if you know she’s on CP time). You can earn extra points by calling her the night before and asking what she needs for the event and by staying late to help clean up. Also, let her know if you have a prior event to attend that will make you late to her function, and give her your estimated arrival time.

The One

Be clear: Laziness will earn you side eyes from her and her friends, and give the guy who’s waiting to take your place an opportunity to shine. It’s full court press time.  If your girl—or the woman you’d like to make yours—is having an event this weekend you need to call her asap and ask her what she needs and how can you help. Why? Women like men who do. Even if they don’t need your help (let’s say her friends are OD’ing) she needs to know you’re down to do whatever she needs. Stop by her crib the day before the event to do a physical check-in on how you can help and be sure to roll through early for set up. Oh yeah, and your ass is staying until the lights go out.

Your Peeps

Think parity. It’s easy to take your boys for granted so these events are all about what’s fair. If you’re the dude in your crew who’s always hosting (and paying), you can come through whenever and you don’t have to bring jack. But if it’s the homie who’s always handling events, and he’s a good host, don’t be a taker. Hit him up and ask what he needs. You can come through whenever you want but be sure to bring something to bless his liquor stash.

The Family

Don’t ditch your  parents, aunties, uncles or even godparents for fun with friends. There are two types of family gatherings: those that turn up and those that are just ways to stay connected. It’s important to show your love at both. If your fam does a great job of getting things popping, plan to stop by when you know most of your relatives will be there and bring a few friends to share in the experience.  If you know the get-together will be a snoozefest, stop by early, even while things are getting prepped, mingle a bit, make your rounds at the other spots, and then circle back at the end of your family event to ensure you see everyone. Regardless of what time you come, make sure to bring that one thing you know everyone loves— it may be a dish from a special bakery, a particular cold snack or drink that’s particularly nostalgic, or a special cuisine.