For introverts like myself, going to a party can be difficult, or exhausting, or uncomfortable. But going to a party by yourself, where you won’t know anyone but the host (and maybe the host’s cat)? That can be an utter nightmare … unless you remember the following tips.
Spend the day leading up to the party hoping it’s going to rain
Sure, you can always bring an umbrella. Sure, the party isn’t even outside. Sure, it’s actually down the hall in your own apartment building. But rain for introverts is the perfect “Get Out of Jail Free” card, allowing you to stay inside by yourself without any lingering guilt about spending your tenth Friday night in a row befriending tea and Netflix.
Text everyone you know beforehand if they’re going to the party, too, and if you can meet up beforehand
Building up the energy and resolve to meet new people is unnerving enough for introverts, but to walk into a room full of strangers is a horror movie (minus the scary musical cues). Make sure to text everyone you know who might have been invited. Find out what time they’ll be there and if you can meet up right outside the host’s door ahead of time.
Sit on your couch fully dressed repeatedly telling yourself you’re going to go, why you should go, how you can get out of going this late in the game
For an introvert, the final hour before going to a party alone is the time to either convince yourself this is a good idea or to see if you can will yourself into becoming too sick to go. It’s also the perfect time to serve as your own cheering section, telling yourself that you can do this, that you will have fun, and that you can pivot right at the front door and go home if you realize you have nothing in common with a bunch of people you haven’t even spoken to yet.
If someone you don’t know answers the door at the party remember — you were invited
It can be hard enough for an introvert to show up to a party alone, especially if you’re caught off guard when an absolute stranger responds to your knock. But rather than worry about having to make small talk with someone new before you even got into the party, simply say “Hello” and ask if the host is around. If they say they haven’t seen them, just walk inside and look for your friend. If you can’t find the host/friend because you accidentally arrived at the wrong party, just get a drink anyway. After all, you were going to spend most of the night avoiding people by perusing the titles on the bookcase anyway, so it really doesn’t matter where you’re doing that.
Find your three locations
Now that you’re at the party — or some party — you need to keep moving among three primary locations: The snacks/drinks table (so you can look like you’re doing something other than avoiding people); The window or bookcase (so you can look at something besides people); and the bathroom (so you can recharge from being around all those people). Yes, some may think you’ve had more than your fair share of dip as you take the bowl to the bookshelf, and yes, others may think the reason you keep going to the bathroom is because you have a serious coke problem, but this is the best way to look like an active part of the party when the only person you know — the host — is to busy to talk with you.
Talk to someone other than the cat
While constantly moving helps you avoid small talk with strangers, you did make the effort to come to the party in the first place. Why not use this as a chance to make a new friend or two? (But not three, because then you’re already dealing with too many plans). But if it’s hard to start a conversation with someone new, join one already in progress. Simply stand by a group of people talking, not so close that it looks like you’re interrupting them but not so far that you’d wish they talked louder because you’re now standing on the fire escape. Then, when someone makes a funny remark, join in on the fun. Make sure to time this right, of course, because laughing at the wrong time can be like going in for a handshake six blocks too early.
Remind yourself you can leave at any time
Remember, it’s a party, not a prison. No one is making you stay. That alone should give you the confidence to talk to some new people, maybe stay around a little longer than after your first knock at the door, and the ability to find the line between leaving after a few hours of fun and leaving the next morning because you got smashed and kept singing “Sweet Caroline”.
Which was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!