Let’s say that you are attending a house party, however, because you don’t think you have any social skills and are awkward meeting new people, you are generally freaked out. You want to start making excuses that you can’t go, but you want to be there for your friends by showing your support with your presence.
What are some tips that shy people or introverts can use to seem more social, eliminating any discomfort that we have?
Don’t mind the people who say that you have to arrive an hour after the party starts because you want to attend the party when it’s full. I would rather be one of the earliest people there, as long as it’s ok with the hosts, because it enables you to help with any last-minute setup which makes some feel needed and useful.
Also by being one of the first ones to be at the event, you can socialize with the fewer early guests, asking them how they know the hosts, before the place swells with more people.
Wear an accessory or an interesting detail on your clothing
A lot of people tend to dress flashy for a party and if that’s you, you do you, boo. But you can wear a piece that is personal to you that starts a conversation but also signals to other like-minded people as a shibboleth of a common interest. A good example is wearing a favorite Disney pin on your sweater which makes you stand out: A person wearing the Grape-pin from Up can signal to someone else that you like that movie, you are potentially a Disney fan or have at least been to Disneyland, and that you might be quirky and fun. This can also be done with ties, purses, shirts and other items on your person.
Not only is a small detail like that a wonderful way to be “flashy” in the most subtle manner, but you can think of it as a little bit of an “armor” to prepare yourself when you talk to other people.
Bring an icebreaker or play a game
When you find that you’re not sure how to start a conversation, having a tool to aid you with an activity can always help. It’s not unusual for people to bring a deck of cards in case someone wants to play a few rounds of poker or bring a set of tarot cards to be entertained with readings.
Games can level the playing field and give everyone a mutual chance to play in an activity. It creates a new experience and something you can talk about after the game. It’s why party game nights (link to article) are incredibly popular, enabling people to enjoy a game and be social, even if people don’t know each other when they start playing.
The limited (since most games can only entertain a certain number of players) and focused interaction also gives you something fun to do and concentrate less on any social overthinking.
Standing in conversational circles and fitting in
Let’s say that you find the courage or interest to join a conversation circle at the party. There is no rule that says that you have to talk all the time in other to be social; sometimes listening is just as active as talking. But if you need some tips to appear to fit in if that concerns you, there are a few things you can do:
- If someone appears to be standing outside of a conversation circle, consciously make space to let them in.
- Sometimes you may have the urge to say something to contribute but not sure what to say. You can always ask a related question to the discussion in the group and have people answer that as part of the conversation.
- If someone says something you agree with, you can always agree and add to that statement
- If you need to leave, you can always duck out. But if you need an excuse, intend to get drinks and no one will think twice.
Be involved passively where you watch things
Sometimes the party may end up watching TV or a movie in a room, allowing you to still technically be there at the party but hone in on other entertainment with other people in an audience. This also works if people are setting up video games; if you’re not playing, you can kick back and relax while you watch other people beat each other up.
If all else fails, feel free to leave
If you find that after a while, you don’t have the energy to remain social, there’s no need to torture yourself to stay there past your own comfort. If you made the point to make it out there for the event, the fact you showed up matters and rarely will any host keep you from other things to do, even if that thing is self-care.