Fall is right around the corner, and we all know what that means: Holiday Parties! For some people (like celebrities and models), the slew of parties on the way is an exciting time filled with flirting, delicious cocktails, and beautiful people. For others (like anyone without a zip code in Beverly Hills), it brings about mixed feelings: excitement tinged with that tiny bit of nervousness.
Parties are a great way to meet people, but how easy is it to mingle if you happen to be shy or flying solo at a party? Turns out for most of us it’s not so easy. The good news is that most people usually get pre-party jitters because, let’s face it, social situations as an adult are about as scary as an actual battlefield. Luckily, you’ve got The Social Man on your side to help you fight back. Not only will these tips teach you how to successfully navigate a party, you’re going to be The Life Of The Party – or the hero of the night, if you will.
1. Scout out prime locations
When you first enter a party, hunt down your host to say hello. Once pleasantries are exchanged and you’ve got yourself a drink, head to the middle of the room. This is where people tend to gravitate toward, and where you’re likely to find it easiest to strike up a conversation with people. As the crowd begins to thicken, make sure you circulate the room and infiltrate as many circles of conversation as possible. Stick to circles of 3-4 people. If there are too many people in a circle, people will begin to pair off in conversation and you’ll end up meeting only one person instead of four.
2. Opt for a subtle conversation starter
Peacocking is so 2008. No, you don’t need to wear a neon multi-colored boa or a glittered button down shirt to get people to notice you and strike up conversation. Please, guys, let’s put this tactic to rest. Instead, spring for a conversation piece that isn’t so flamboyant.
Any of the following are great conversation starters:
- A unique beer or wine that you tasted for the first time in (Insert Country) as contribution to the party alcohol supply
- The vintage timepiece on your wrist that was passed down to you
What’s the best way to strike up a conversation about your piece? Ask someone else a question about theirs.
3. Be your host’s wingman
A great way to get to know everyone is to check in with your host every once in a while. Chances are he knows most of the people at his party – so if you slip into his conversation circle every now and then, he’ll introduce you to a bunch of new people. Just don’t glue yourself to his side. He might take your attention the wrong way.
Went to a party, but don’t know the host? Your number 1 goal of the night is to befriend him. People who throw great parties are great at networking, which means he throws or attends parties often. This is a good guy to have on your side.
4. Always have a good party story up your sleeve
Guys who are famous for their schmoozing are excellent storytellers. We’ve all seen (and probably envied) this guy before. He’s the guy who has an entire dinner table or bar top in hysterics as he tells the tale of how a monkey stole his wallet in Thailand. But, guess what this guy’s secret is? He’s told that story at a hundred dinner tables and bars, and it’s embellished a little more each time for emphasis and polished to perfection so that every joke hits at just the right time.
Everyone should have at least one really good party story ready to go. Whether it’s about the time you partied with Kayne West or about that one evening you accidentally got locked in an ATM booth, have a good party story chiseled to perfection.
Pro-tip: Keep the story light and funny.
5. Make a polite yet memorable exit
So, you entered a circle of 5 people, which seemed like a good idea, but all of a sudden, the circle broke off into pairs and you’re now stuck with a person who won’t stop talking your ear off. You want to leave, but you’re not sure how to do it without jeopardizing the new acquaintance you’ve made.
External reasons are key here: you need to use bathroom, you’d like to go refresh your drink, or you see an old friend you should say hello to.
Never, ever end a conversation with, “It was nice meeting you.” It’s generic, insincere, and, worst of all, it makes you easily forgettable. Instead, trying leaving a conversation with genuine thanks.
It was great talking to you. I hope your cat gets better soon.
Thanks for the chat. Hopefully (insert host’s name) will throw another party soon so we can meet again.
See? Polite, effortless, and gentlemanly. This is the type of exit that gets you noticed and will make people seek you out next time you’re at a party.
As soon as those FB invites start heading your way, remember that all you need is your awesome personality and confidence and you’ll instantly be The Life Of The Party. Little tips like these help, but nothing can be a substitute for a genuine character.
Have fun, smile, and be yourself because you’re a Rock Star and you’re definitely soon-to-be The Life Of The Party.