I‘m one of those people who doesn’t like parties very much. Although people find it hard to believe, I am painfully shy when it comes to talking to people I don’t know. I find social occasions challenging and would rather stay at home. Funnily enough though, once I’m there I usually have a good time. It’s the thought of the party that does my head in.
This holiday season, I have a few tips on how to survive parties when you’re an introvert.
Give yourself a time limit
Before you go, tell yourself you’ll only stay for one or two hours. You can endure anything for a few hours and when the time comes to leave, you won’t feel guilty because you’ve made an arrangement with yourself in advance. Of course, if you’re having fun you can always stay.
Unless you rock the sexy look normally, don’t try and look sexy for the party. Pick part of your body that you love and highlight it. If you have great legs, wear a short skirt. If you have great boobs, wear a low neckline. If you have a great back, wear a halter top. Try for pretty rather than smart. Wear a floaty dress or a patterned top. Feel comfortable and attractive rather than poured into a tight dress that makes you feel self-conscious.
Listen rather than talk
Most people love talking about themselves. Reply with more questions than answers. Rather than use the tried and true opening lines, lead with a compliment and a question.
That’s a great shirt you’re wearing ~ where did you get it?
I’ve never seen a bracelet as pretty as that before ~ did you buy it in Australia?
Repeat back their answers
To keep the conversation, just repeat back their answers to them in question form. It is the same as saying “tell me more” and it also signifies you are listening to them.
Your wife gave it to you last Christmas?
You got it at the Rocks Markets?
Talk about a different subject than you normally do
If it is a work party, then ask questions about the person’s family or hobby. If it’s a family affair, ask about their work. Try to uncover one thing you didn’t know about that person.
Start with the men
I’m not talking about flirting, but if you’re a woman, talking to men can be easier than talking to women. Men enjoy company, are natural story-tellers and love having their egos boosted. Just ask them about their dreams, their mission, and their latest accomplishment and they’ll talk for hours.
Make the first move
Don’t wait for someone to start talking to you, make the first move. It will make you appear more confident than you’re feeling and will stop you sitting in the corner feeling out of place. Pick an extrovert rather than an introvert to start with (you’ll know the difference).
Make it a game
Decide to talk to six different people or to three people you’ve never met before. Make it your mission to find out the holiday destination of everyone at your table or what they were most proud of in 2011. Give yourself a challenge and then go for it!
It won’t be fun at the beginning because the voice in your head will tell you you’re not interesting enough for anyone to bother with you. Ignore it and go talk to someone anyway. Action brings confidence not the other way around.
What about you? Do you feel shy at parties? What are your tips on how to meet new people when you’re an introvert?