If a room full of strangers isn’t your idea of a good time, you’re certainly not alone. Many people go through parties feeling awkward and not having any idea who to talk to. Truth is, there are less “life of the party” people out there and more folks just trying to make it through the night without feeling as if they’re embarrassing themselves too much.
Like Personal Growth on Facebook
When you’re not a fan of social events, the party season can become a nightmare fast, but it doesn’t have to always be that way.
Try the following ten tips at your next event to go from self-conscious to confident so you can relax and enjoy yourself at parties now and in the future.
1. Do A Little Detective Work
Chances are if you’ve been invited to a party, the person who asked you knows something about most or all of the other guests. Find out where these guests are from and what some of their interests are in advance.
With a little preparation, you’ll feel less awkward and more confident about approaching other people at the party because you’ll have something to talk about. You may find you share some common ground, which is one way to make new friends.
On the flip side, you may also learn there are some guests or topics you should avoid, and this is particularly true when it comes to things like religion and politics. Stick to safe topics based on what you learned at the start of the party, and adjust as your comfort level with people changes throughout the event.
2. Wear A Conversation Piece
Wear one item of clothing or an accessory that will attract attention and inspire people to come and talk to you. Don’t go overboard and make your whole outfit wild or an attention-grabber, as that could backfire and make you even more self-conscious when you first arrive.
All you really need is one unique item that people tend to comment on; you may already have something that fits the bill in your closet. Look for an item that often draws remarks when you wear it, so you have a personal conversation piece to wear.
3. Check The News
Mainstream news stories can make for great ice-breakers because other people have heard about them and probably have opinions on them. Take a look at the big headlines before the party, and read a few articles about those hot stories from legitimate news sources.
Go for the most recent breaking news if there isn’t anything else that’s trending the day before or the day of the party, and try to find something that interests you.
While you don’t need to become an expert on the subject of a hot news story, don’t just skim over articles either. If you do, you won’t be able to really discuss the topics because you won’t have the details and are more likely to run out of things to talk about faster. Get the facts straight so you can talk about it in depth and feel confident while doing so.
4. Trade Fashionably Late In For A Little Early
Get to the party a little early, say 10 to 15 minutes before it starts. Don’t arrive super early, as that will stress out your host and is often considered rude. If you get there just a bit early, you’ll have some time to warm up at a relaxed pace and adjust as other party guests arrive.
Do offer to help the host once you get there. Not only is that the polite thing to do, but it also will help you feel less out of place in the party setting. Even something as simple as putting out plates and napkins will make you feel as if you’re a part of the party before it even starts, and you just might help save the day for the host!
5. Give Yourself A Boost
Right before you enter the party, think about the accomplishment that gives you the most pride in clear mental detail. You particularly want to recreate how hitting that milestone made you feel at the time, so don’t skimp on the mental image. Reliving a pleasant memory will prod your body into releasing chemicals associated with those feelings, and in the case of achievements, those feelings are pride and confidence.
6. Take Some Deep Breaths
When a person is feeling anxious or self-conscious, they often take shallow and short breaths, but that usually makes everything worse. According to Harvard Health Publications, deep breathing is what actually calms you down and helps release tension.
Focus on taking a few deep breaths, or however many you need, to drop your anxiety levels back down and help you feel more comfortable. Practice deep breathing at home if you’re not used to doing it, so you’ll be able to do it in a way that doesn’t make you feel self-conscious in public.
7. Play The Host
In your mind, decide that you are actually the host of the party and behave accordingly in some ways. You don’t want to take the party over and insult the host, obviously, but if you imagine you’re hosting, you’ll become more comfortable with meeting and talking to people you don’t know.
Act as if you’re the one throwing the party when it comes to meeting, greeting and mingling with guests. You wouldn’t shy away from new people at your party if you were the person hosting, so don’t do so now!
8. Station Yourself Near The Food
Hang out by the sweets or snack buffet, if possible. Being near feel-good food makes for easy conversation, and people who eat are often in a better mood because of the associated rise in endorphin levels that eating causes. Conversations about food are light, fun and often open avenues for other topics of discussion, and this is true whether the food is good, bad or just average.
9. Look For Other People In The Same Boat
Go to people who are standing by themselves. People on their own are probably feeling lonely and awkward, like you used to at parties, and will be happy to speak to you no matter what the topic.
10. Try Some Compliments
Compliment a person on an item they are wearing, and then ask a question about it, preferably one that’s open-ended. This makes for a wonderful ice-breaker and you may just learn something interesting. Try to look for an item that you actually do like, as that will make the compliment clearly sincere to the person on the receiving end.
Use the tips above at the next party you go to, so you can be more confident and finally have some fun. If you do end up having an awkward moment, keep in mind that you’re in good company and there is always another party just around the corner!