My shyness is inversely related with my age. The older I get, the more anti-social, don’t-want-to-talk-to-anyone, don’t-even-think-about-approaching-me I become.
I was a social teenager; a ridiculously busy kid; and, as a baby? Well, I would be crawling up and down the dinner party table, disrupting everyone for attention.
Now? You’ll find me at the bar, or by the food table, definitely NOT mingling and often with an urgent appointment I need to be rushing off to.
This needs to change. For two reasons. First off, I need to meet new people, both professionally and socially. Secondly, if I continue in this trajectory, I will wind up a crazy cat woman by the age of 30, which won’t be pretty for me or the poor cats in question.
So, with this in mind, I’ve put together the best ways of surviving a party where you don’t know anyone. (Remember, the aim is to get to know someone, not drink the bar tab dry or stalk the canapés waiters.)
Time your entrance.
Your entrance needs to be precise, and it should be one extreme or the other. If you know the host (but no one else), it’s a good idea to offer to help said host in preparing the party. That way you’re ‘in’ from the start and can be introduced to guests as they arrive.
If the guests are considerate enough to trickle in – and not arrive in a huge, wildly intimidating and extremely good looking pack – you can meet your potential new friends one-by-one. You can also do this with a subtle air of superiority… because you’re such a good friend, who’s been helping the host, and everyone should want a friend like you…
If you’re not up for helping the host, there’s no other option than to arrive late. And, to do this effectively, you need to hit the sweet spot. Around 45 minutes to an hour after the party starts is usually ideal – it means your definitely not the first one there, and you’re not too late to miss the party’s upswing. (Don’t worry, you can still maintain that air of superiority, you’ve just been somewhere ridiculously important, remember?)
As Jane, 27, puts it:
Synchronise your watches, people. Your entrance is no casual affair.
Drink. Eat. Drink lots.
The bar is your best friend at a party where you don’t know anyone. Unless there’s a buffet table, in which case that is your best friend, and the bar is a close second.
Occupying yourself with food or drink is a great way to look busy, keep your hands from fidgeting and score a whole stomach-full of free delicacies in the process. (As you can tell, I’ve lost focus of the night’s goal – meeting people, Caitlin, meeting people).
Luckily, all that time at the bar will pay off in awarding you with killer conversation skills and show-stopping dance moves. Or maybe just an overestimated sense of confidence. Either way, it will have you talking to people you’ve never met, and they will respond with adoration, where-have-you-been-all-my-life responses – the fact they’re slowly backing away, does not matter. Repeat. DOES NOT MATTER.
If the party has neither a bar or a buffet, it’s probably not worth attending in the first place. If, however, you find yourself in such a situation sans friends, the most popular advice is “head to the kitchen”.
If it’s a house party, hang around in the kitchen or somewhere else communal – people are always so chatty in the kitchen, I find – Bec, 24.
The kitchen is the real heart of any house party – Sam, 32.
It’s where I make my party friends – Kahla, 23.
That’s what we’re here to do, Kahla – make party friends. See y’all in the kitchen!
Ready. Aim. Fire
You need to get your stalk on, pick a ‘friend target’, and take no prisoners. It’s time to get ruthless – you’re here for a reason.
If that girl in a similar outfit to you does not hold your attention, then move on (you probably look better in that dress anyway). Scan the room for people in the same position as you. Or, more accurately, scan the bar and buffet for other sole wanderers, and approach them.
If your targets are not living up to your expectations, then move on. Make an excuse – go to the bathroom, kitchen, or bar – and find another new bestie in the process.
Don’t forget, you’re very important and you must keep checking your phone
Your phone is your life jacket in a party-without-friends situation. I know, I know, it is anti-social (which is the exact opposite of what you are) but it can be a great way to not feel like a loner when you’re in a situation where you most definitely are one.
Also, you’re an important person, right? It’s actually lucky you even have time to be at that party… Between checking your emails, updating your calender and getting back to that urgent message from the Prime Minister (a.k.a. checking Instagram, perfecting the endless scroll through Faceboook, and updating your tinder profile), it’s incredible you even made it there. That’s why you should keep checking your phone. Turnbull NEEDS you.
Play on your phone – Aimee, 29.
Pretend to be texting someone – Jacqui, 35.
Look at your phone and occasionally look up to pretend that you’re still “present” but also otherwise engaged with something important – Kelly, 26.
If nothing in this post has helped you at all (unlikely, considering the excellent advice, but just in case). Then know this:
You are not the only one.
Rest assured in the knowledge that at every party you attend there is someone who is either in the same position, or has been in the same position at the last party they attended. There is always another buffet, bar or bathroom-dweller, who's desperately checking those emails and can't drink the bar dry quickly enough.
No one wants to be the person with no friends, but everyone has been. Have faith in people. They will feel your pain. They will adopt you. And you will have a good night. Because you are someone's next best friend, and those kittens up for adoption will understand.
Just have an escape method planned... just in case. There is that very important event you must be going to... You only have time to stop in for a quick drink. .. Being a cat lady at aged 30 is no big deal, right?