Parties can serve as great opportunities for you to meet others in a fun environment. By the same token, parties can be stressful, especially if you don’t know many people there, you don’t have much experience meeting strangers or past party experiences helped you form a negative perception of them. To help you, here are some ways to mentally prepare for attending a party.
When you receive an invitation, find out what kind of party it is. What kind of environment will the party have? Will it be more quiet and intimate, or more rowdy? Further, you can ask around to find out who else will go. By learning more about this, you can determine whether the people attending the party are those you get along with well. Additionally, if you find out another friend is attending you can make plans to go with them, which can make you more comfortable in attending.
Along with learning specific details of the party, it’s important you take the right mental approach to attending parties. Typically, parties are a fun way to let off steam and practice your communication skills with others. Furthermore, at most parties, people are friendly and willing to meet others. With these factors in mind, it’s important that you don’t stress yourself out before going. True, you will want to mingle with others because it can make the experience more fun. However, don’t treat your interactions at this party as a barometer for your social skills. Instead, you should relax some and allow yourself to go with the environment.
The last step with mental preparation deals with your preparation on the day of the party. If you feel anxious, spend some time with friends if possible before the party to take your mind off it. If this doesn’t work, try talking to family members or neighbors. Not only can this help you take your mind off the party, it can help you warm up your communication skills for the night.
Once you have mentally prepared yourself to attend, the focus goes to when you should arrive.
If you arrive around the time the party starts, it’s likely there won’t be as many people there. With this in mind, it can give you the opportunity to introduce yourself to others. Meanwhile, if you arrive later, there will be more people at the party, which gives you the opportunity to meet more people. Further, it also gives you an easier time break off conversations if one doesn’t go well.
Learning the art of mingling with strangers
For some, this can be the most difficult part of going to a party. If you haven’t had much success speaking with strangers in the past, you may feel overwhelmed to do this. However, while this step may seem daunting, these small tips can make it much easier for you:
You can have a friend introduce you to others. This will take the pressure off you initially and allow you to slowly ease into the conversation.
Another great tip is to start with a simple introduction. You can walk up to a stranger and say, “Hey I’m Dan, how’s it going?” From there, ask an open-ended question to keep the conversation going. Here are a few questions you can ask:
- You can ask how they know the host of the party.
- What do you do for a living?
- If in college, what’s their major and what do they hope to do with it?
- If it’s a themed party such as a costume party you can ask how they came up with their design.
Further, when you approach someone to talk to, do so with confidence – check out our self confidence guide here. This means you should walk up to them with your shoulders squared, establish eye contact with them and smile as your introduce yourself. This will make it less awkward for the person you approach. Alternatively, if you walk up to them appearing nervous, it can make them uncomfortable from the start.
Along with asking open-ended questions, you can naturally keep the conversation going by listening. For example, if you find out the person you are talking to knows your best friend, you can ask them how they met. The goal here is to listen and pick up on things they say to keep the conversation going. Now this doesn’t mean you should rattle off a bunch of questions like you are the Riddler. Instead, you allow them to open up to you by expressing interest in them. Keep in mind this approach won’t work with everyone. Chances are there will be people at the party just as nervous if not more so than you. If you find the conversation fizzles out, tell them it was nice talking to them and move on.
Mingling with groups
Groups are a different dynamic entirely. To introduce yourself into the conversation, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Study the demeanor of others in the conversation. Does it seem like they all know each other well? Are they all laughing and smiling? If they appear to be a friendly group, you can wait for a moment of silence then walk up and introduce yourself to others. I’m not going to lie, this will take courage and not everyone is open to this approach. With that said, I have found this to be a great way to join a group conversation because you show others you are friendly and outgoing. Once you meet everyone, ask them how they know the host. From there, you can share how you met the host or even better, share a funny story between the two of you. By doing this, others will perceive you as interesting and the group dynamic won’t change.
Just remember that parties are a great way for you to meet unique people in a fun setting. By adjusting to the party’s environment, it can help you understand what to expect in the way of people and conversation. Further, by taking the initiative to introduce yourself to others and by listening to them, you can make pleasant small talk and ask questions to just about anyone. Ultimately, parties are a great way to relax and meet fun people. When you take that mindset to have fun and share a willingness to meet new people, you will have better experiences.