How To Socialize At A Party Alone

Here are practical hints to help single people socialize at a party alone. The goal is to meet other people and ease nervousness.

Sometimes it's tough to go to a party by yourself. This is true for singles as well as attached people who don't have their companion with them. If you know a lot of the other guests, it isn't so bad. But if you only know few, or maybe just the host, the whole affair can be unnerving. However, by remembering a handful of tricks, you can end up meeting many new people and having a great time.

First, be comfortable with what you're wearing. If you're constantly fidgeting or adjusting your clothes, you will appear nervous. You may also be distracted from conversations because you're worried part of your outfit will slip, undo or open. Keep within the expected dress (casual, formal, etc.) but, if you can, wear something you've worn before, especially shoes.

Next, don't arrive too early. If it's a casual house or office party, arriving an hour after the "start time" is acceptable. That way some guests will have already arrived, giving a range of opportunities to start conversations. If you arrive too long after everyone else when the party is in full swing, it can be difficult to "catch up" to the energy level of the group. If it's a formal function like a dinner when punctuality counts, arrive just before the dinner is served. Although there is often a cocktail hour prior, people are settling in and tend to only talk to people they know. Mingling at that kind of gathering is done after the meal.

Don't spend too much time doing this because you don't want to sound rehearsed, but think of three or four current events and your opinion about them ahead of time. Keep away from hot political and religious issues. Try to stay with weather (heat wave, hurricane somewhere in the world, freak snowstorm in the tropics, etc.); local events (change in garbage pickup schedule, sports team win or loss, road construction, etc.); recent movies or television shows you've seen or books you've read; and so on. By having already thought of a few topics of conversation, you'll be less nervous whether you're starting or joining in a conversation.

Keep a drink in your hand. That can be any kind of beverage. The point is to keep you from worrying about what to do with your hands. This is especially helpful if you find yourself in a lull, standing alone. If you're at a dinner party, eat slowly so that you'll always have something to do if a conversation lags. And never put too much in your mouth at once.

Smile and keep your body language open. People don't want to get to know the person standing against the wall, arms folded across their chest, mouth down turned. Of course, the same is true of a person grinning from ear to ear for no apparent reason. Keep away from the edges of the room and try to have a slight smile on your face. Like the Mona Lisa.

Finally, don't be afraid to initiate conversations. Approaching other single people is easier than groups but if you turn out not to enjoy each other's conversation, it's more delicate to end the interaction. Watch for the group of three or four who aren't standing in a tight circle. At a party, people expect strangers to join conversations. And the best way to meet any stranger is to pretend they are your guest. That is, try to make them feel comfortable by asking questions or commenting on what they've said. By taking your focus off yourself, you'll be more relaxed.

Put these hints into practice and you might be surprised at how easy it can be to go to a party alone. In fact, there are advantages, like not having to worry if the person you brought along is having a good time.

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