Get 6 essential survival tips for getting through a party. Navigating a party can be miserable for introverts but can be a lot of fun too.
For an introvert, the idea of attending a party seems like one of life’s necessary evils on par with dentist visits and family reunions.
The thought of a lot of unfamiliar people milling about in an enclosed space is akin to wandering through orbital space, wondering what the heck you’re supposed to do and when you get to go home.
The main determinant to your fun factor for the evening is context. How well do you know the people attending?
Do you know a lot of people at the party?
If you know a lot of them, then it can be a lot of fun.
If you don’t know very many of them, that’s where the un-fun part comes in.
Time to steer the ship that you don’t really care to be captain of in uncharted social waters.
Handle the rough seas
Now, if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, that’s a co-captain.
So that’s a bit easier also because you don’t have the steer the boat through rough seas for the duration of the party.
As with many things in life, a strategy would be wise.
Have a pre-determined strategy
If you go just expecting to have fun or just expecting to have your social anxiety tooth pulled, you will get not as much out of it.
If you have some kind of intention.
Intention to what you want to get out of it before you go, you will have a better idea of what to do to fill all the unscheduled time of a “party”.
Bermuda Triangle of a Standing Party
First, there’s the map. Every party has three main areas. T
hese are the three areas that you will visit over and over again throughout the night, but the trick is never to stay in one place for too long.
1) Food area
2) drink area and
Stay at one of these areas too long, and you’re deemed to be a big awkward.
At the very basic, you have these three things. These are the safe zones, where you obligatorily will visit throughout the evening.
Where the vast grey area is concerned is the middle. These are the “social” areas where you get to “mingle”. Oh joy.
Is there a lifeboat?
If you know a handful of people at the party, those are your lifeboats.
It’s like the more people you know, the more buoys you can hold on to throughout the evening.
Being at a standing party is like human pinball.
Become a human pinball
You are to bounce about the room, with the gentle push and pull of the people and events happening around you.
Someone’s starting to sing karaoke, let’s head over there!
They’re pulling the pork ribs off the grill, let’s head to the backyard! Someone’s doing keg stands, let’s go watch!
Now, if the food and drink area are combined, the social bermuda triangle will look more like this:
The exit becomes area #3, and the urge to look longingly and constantly at the door to leave is an activity in itself.
Or you become the person that answers the door and greets people as they come in and out.
While being hall monitor of the party may be tempting as a way to do something productive at the party, let’s try to integrate.
Structure your time
The Introvert doesn’t like the unstructured time. T
he grey area of not having a specific item, task, or thing to do, except to be social and chat.
This is where your buoys come in hand otherwise known as friends.
Acquaintances work too, but they are more like hand air-blown floaties. You can only hang on for so long.
The life boats on the other hand, of friends you know, well you are free to jump in and hang on them for as long as you like.
If you see one in the crowd, it’s like a sigh of relief, rescue! We’re going to get rescued! I’m not alone out here in the wide ocean!
The Ship must sail on
If you don’t really know anyone at the party and didn’t come with a significant other or good friend, that’s ok.
The ship shall sail on. Please heed the following tips while sailing solo through the rough seas of a party.
6 Survival Tips for Surviving a Party Solo
1) Get there a little later than the advertised start time.
A lot of parties take time to warm up.
The ones who show up early, dare I say, are sticklers, i.e. uptight and slightly anal.
They may have children and need to leave to tuck them in, or they need to go to bed early for some very “important” activity in the morning.
This all just really means that they are drinking very little alcohol, if next to nothing, and ya know that that ain’t gonna be fun.
The later you arrive, that’s when the slackers, i.e. fun people arrive.
The late arrivals may have already started drinking, so they’re liquored up and ready to go.
As the night drolls on, the room gets louder and louder because people are having fun, and that is the prime time to enter the party.
If the atmosphere is fun, you will likely get caught up in the tidal wave and have fun too.
2) Meet 2, 3, or 4 new people.
You choose the amount.
The point is to have a goal so you’re not aimlessly wandering around the social grey area like a dinghy no one wants to play with.
You’re going out to the social ocean. You need to have some type of destination and goal in mind before you go.
Once achieved, you can feel the ease of accomplishment and the sooner you can leave.
This is ultimately why you came to the party, right?
You felt the need to engage, and that’s why you left the comfort of your house in the first place.
3) Go with the flow.
No, I don’t mean if everyone is taking whiffs from the vape machine that you should do it too.
I mean don’t try too hard to sail your ship in the direction you think it needs to flow in. No sharp movements.
No sharp turns here or down that hall. Be easy.
When a conversation ends, don’t abruptly turn and run for the food.
Be like a slinky and flow gracefully to the next person you want to talk to.
4) Have a planned exit time.
No matter what, you can always leave.
Have a set time where you say you’ve got to leave because of X activity afterwards.
You need to have something to say, other than that you just need to go.
If it’s Saturday night, people won’t likely enjoy that reason as “good enough.”
5) Have a way to get home
If you do need to leave, you need a way to get home.
Avoid carpooling with a casual friend, unless you are committed to staying as long as they are.
If you don’t mind paying for an uber back home, then you should drive yourself.
If you have to stay longer than you like because you’re waiting for your ride home, you will likely be grumpy, people may try to talk to you, and you’ll start looking at other things in the room while they’re speaking because you’d rather not be talking to them.
6) Drink a lot…
This is the very last resort if you’re really having a bad time.
It’s not the best option as you may end up hungover and hurting the next day.
However, generally, if you do like to drink, you will have a good time not because of the party but because you’re drinking.
7) If you don’t want to do #6, then you’ve got to breathe.
The awkward moments and silences WILL be there. Accept them.
Know that they will happen. When they do, smile.
Go with the flow. Don’t think or try too hard of something to say. Again, don’t force the conversation.
The waves can be harsh, but the idea is to keep your ship steady.
The wind may not be going in the direction you prefer, but stay the course. Breathe into it.
Smile and gently walk away. On to the next buoy. Life boat. Friend.
Best of luck!
Parties are a seeming simultaneous blessing and curse of American life.
However, the reason we often go to a party where we don’t know anyone is for the possibility that we might just meet someone.
For that serendipitous encounter, weathering a bad storm of socially awkward moments just might be worth it…sometimes. 🙂