A Socially Awkward Person’s Guide To Navigating Parties
Do you enjoy spending time alone? Would you rather be sleeping than socialising? And (while we’re being honest) would you rather attempt a toothpick lobotomy than subject yourself to a minute of forced social interaction?
Look, parties can be fun don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something about putting a bunch of people in one place and making them talk to one another that is a little very overwhelming. And for those of us blessed with social anxieties and awkwardness, it can become more of a nightmare-inducing chore more than anything.
So you’ve mustered the strength and courage to decide you’re actually going to attend the party, now what? Well it’s not the end of days, I promise you. Follow these easy tips and you’re sure to survive – or, who knows, maybe even have a good time.
Don’t isolate yourself
The first, and arguably the most important rule is to not be the guy or gal standing in the corner awkwardly standing while shifting their weight from side to side, pretending to text someone.
You’ve conjured the energy to actually get yourself up, showered, dressed and to the party, so you owe it to yourself to try and have a good time. Now if you arrived with friends, that makes life a little easier, because no matter what you’ll have a group to stand with.
If you came alone, listen up. This means it might be time to… mingle.
That’s right, I said it. If you don’t really feel like tapping a rando on the shoulder and sparking a conversation (I don’t blame you), go find whoever it is that asked you to be there, thank them for the invite and ask how their day has been so far.
Now when it comes to hovering, if you’ve come with a few friends and hang out as a group for the entire night, that’s totally fine. But on the contrary, if you’ve arrived with a friend and choose to stay so close fellow partygoers could mistaken you for a set of Siamese twins, it might be time to take several steps back.
The person you came with isn’t your babysitter. If they’re in the mood for meeting new people, having someone silently and awkwardly following them around all night isn’t the best icebreaker for them.
Don’t hover around newfound friends either. If you’re getting the vibe the convo isn’t going anywhere or awkward pauses are increasing in length, just move along. Chances are you’ll find someone more interesting to chat to anyway.
“Hey, I’ve not met you, my name’s (insert name), what’s yours?” It’s really that easy – don’t overthink it.
People at parties are in high spirits (and have probs been drinking some too amirite? lol) so it’s an easy setting to make a new friend in somebody… or at least find someone to call an acquaintance for the next few hours.
If all else fails, just ask people about themselves, people love talking about themselves.
Hang by the food
If you’re finding it hard to find someone to spark a conversation with, there is one place at any party you are sure to find an influx of people at any given moment – near wherever the food is located.
Now you do run the risk of attempting to chat to someone with a mouth full of cob loaf. But, my theory is… eating makes people happy and happy people are always willing to make new friends.
Confidence is key. I know telling you to be confident is so much easier said than done, but going into the party feeling already defeated is likely going to make for a really bad time.
Instead, walk in knowing that you’re a really cool and fun person and remember that anyone would be lucky to spend a little time hanging out with you, the rest will take care of itself.
Adopt the mantra of the incomparable and incredibly wise pop sensation Ke$ha, in the cult classic hit single, “Tik Tok”, “the party don’t start ’til I walk in”.
Know your escape route
Arguably the best thing about being an adult is the fact that nobody can make you do stuff you don’t want to do. If at any moment you want to bail, you totally can.
If you’ve been there for longer than a hot minute and just aren’t enjoying yourself, you don’t have to stay. It’s comforting to know that a pizza and bed is just an Uber ride away.
Bradley Johnston is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys travel, Tina Fey and is a connoisseur of cheap red wine.