How to Talk to People at Parties in 5 Steps

September 10, 2016 • Sarah Jean Gosney

Welcome to my blog! Here I’ll be giving advice and telling stories about growing up, finding yourself, and the awkward pain of being human.

First off, I’m going to tackle the issue of talking to people at parties.

Just do it. It’s as simple as that, right? Except that it isn’t, and it can feel like the single most daunting task you’ll ever face, especially if the words “mixer” or “mingle” are involved.

In spite of that, I’m here to tell you that you can do it. No really, you can, and you may even want to one day.

Sure, you could fall back on all those personality tests that say you’re an introvert and avoid parties entirely, but someday you’re going to find yourself at a friend’s house and see a cute guy or girl sitting all alone and wearing your favorite band’s t-shirt. Then you’re going to have to talk to someone at a party, and you’ll want to be prepared.

If you’re still not convinced, let me put it to you this way: unless you sweat profusely from every pore in your body to the point where your handshakes remind people of their childhood playing on the Slip-N-Slide, you have no excuse.

Even if that’s true, you still have no excuse. That was me, and I still figured it out, so. I’ve broken the ice in every messy way you can imagine and came out relatively unscathed. In fact, my brain has mercifully erased most of my mistakes.

The truth is, that cute guy or girl is probably worried about looking stupid just like you are. So you’ve got two options. Make some conversation, or become that guy waiting for the party to be over. What would you rather be doing—your taxes?

I didn’t think so. So here’s what you are going to do instead:

  1. Make eye contact. This shows that you are interested and engaged. Eyes aren’t actually the window to your soul, so your insecurities won’t pour like the Niagara onto the person you’re talking to.
  2. Smile. I swear, you’re going to smile. Practice in the mirror once or twice to make sure you’re not grimacing.
  3. Don’t shy away from small talk. Being comfortable talking about the mundane means that you’ll be ready to talk about more substantial topics when they come along. That or you’ll know it’s time to get out of there. Think of it like the rolls and butter brought to you at a restaurant. They either ruin your appetite completely or get you excited about the meal to come.
  4. Practice on cashiers at the grocery store, or on old ladies in the locker room at the gym. Old ladies love the company, and cashiers can’t get away.
  5. Be genuine. This is the hardest part, but it comes naturally when you’re comfortable. Don’t rely on alcohol or pretending to like Dubstep to impress people.

Unlike those cashiers you’re going to hold captive, at a party, people come with the intent of interacting with other people. Yes, that means you too. For some of us that’s a skill. Practice until it’s not terrifying anymore, and until then you’ll have plenty of moments to laugh about.

Tags: relationships, self improvement

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