Social Tips for the Socially Challenged

I’m not much of an extrovert.

Scratch that.

I’m not much of an extrovert, in new situations. I’m terrible at socializing with strangers, and typically you’ll see me holding the same glass of wine I was holding over an hour ago. If the party is really challenging, I’ll probably be on glass 2 or 3.

Still, you can’t grow your professional/social/whatever circle without interacting with human beings on some level. Not only do you need to make yourself available to these kinds of gatherings, you need to be *gasped* liked as well.

It’s a lot tougher than one might think.

While I’m no pro at shmoozing quite yet, I’ve learned to live by a few simple rules that help me navigate these social gatherings:

1. Dress Appropriately
Nothing makes you feel more awkward and self-conscious than if you feel you’ve under (or over) dressed. Make sure you dress appropriately for the function, and most importantly, feel comfortable and confident in whatever you’re wearing. That alone will put you in a good mood and make you shine.

natalie-chris

2. Ask questions
This is the quickest and easiest way to be the most well-liked person at the party. People like to talk about themselves. If you’re feeling nervous at a gathering, just ask questions and your companions will carry the entire conversation on their own with a simple smile and nod from you—they’ll even leave the party thinking you were the most pleasant of guests.

3. Mind your manners
Please and thank you. It doesn’t get much more complicated than that.

4. Love your furries
If your host has an animal, give it some love. People love their animals (or they wouldn’t have them). Sure, you might be allergic—just politely excuse yourself and go scratch in an empty room.

nola

Except don’t go too far and be this girl:

funny-cat-lover-party

5. Keep a beverage in your hand
Sip your wine slowly. It gives you something to do without the fear of getting tipsy.

6. Put the phone away
It’s tempting to play on your phone when you’re not otherwise engaged, but you’re not likely to get any attention if you’re not paying attention to anything around you.

7. Stay clear from religion/politics/controversial news events
No matter how many times you hear it, I see people (and myself) engage in these topics all too frequently. I think it’s because we’re emotionally attached to these topics and have strong opinions, which are the toughest to keep to ourselves. In my case, I use humor to diffuse awkward situations…and that only works if people find you funny. I guarantee you won’t make any friends by poking fun at [INSERT ANYTHING HERE].

8. Avoid all parenting discussions
This is a new one for me, because I only became a parent 8 months ago. When I was pregnant I quickly learned that I had entered a new unspoken club where every person who is/may have been pregnant will give you advice no matter if you solicited it or not. The problem is, once you have the kid you might think you’re ready to start doling out advice on your own.

Wrong.

Every person parents differently. While I might not be inclined to allow my child to smear beans and rice on a restaurant table (I witnessed this in Miami, and it wasn’t pretty), I realize that my opinion could be in the minority. Don’t be caught criticizing something that your acquaintance might be fine with doing—that’s the quickest way to get on their bad side, and the forecast looks bleak for any chance of a return.

child-restaurant

 

Do you have any good party tips?