A shy girl’s guide to the party.

Whenever anyone so much as mentions mingling I tend to break out in a cold sweat. I’m talking palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…Mum’s spaghetti type nervous (thanks, Eminem). This is why I tend to stay clear of all social situations where I don’t know everyone involved.

But sometimes it’s necessary to venture out of my den of blankets, biscuit crumbs and endless dog meme’s. I do this for limited reasons, sometimes to fulfill a promise I made to a friend, but more often than not to prove to my Mum that I left the house that week.

I know there are others out there who are also paralyzed with fear at the mere mentioned of a large-scale party. We haven’t met; because we’re too busy binge watching The Handmaid’s Tale (if you haven’t watched it, do yourself a favour and get on it), or cackling at videos of cats being assholes. But I thought I’d share some of my top tricks for surviving these situations when the occasion arises where you need to make a public appearance.

Find the pet

As soon as I arrive at a party I like to keep my eyes peeled for a furry friend. If you’re feeling confident, this could include lusciously bearded men. But mostly I search for a canine, because they’re always keen for attention. Cat’s, not so much, as I know from all those asshole cat videos. I have successfully evaded conversation for at least an hour playing with a pet at a party. And if people approach you, it’s acceptable to make weird cooing noises because you’re with a cute animal. No one needs to know that these are noises you make regularly at home, by yourself.

Look busy

This one I picked up from my years working in hospitality. If you’re constantly carrying something around, you look like you’re busy and have a purpose. People are less likely to stop you for a chat. If you know the host or hostess of the party, this is even better. You can purposefully walk around with empty cups, a bowl of chips, a chair, or whatever miscellaneous item you can get your hands on, and it’ll look legit. “What’re you up to, Trudy?” “Sorry, can’t talk, super busy, gotta get this can of tuna to the kitchen.” Fool proof.

Be the ice person

Now I’m not talking about the drug. If you’re going to parties where ice is involved, you’ve got much bigger problems then being socially awkward. I’m talking about the stuff that keeps your tinnies cool. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Australian parties, it’s that there’s never enough ice. And nobody likes warm beer. If you need a moment to of peace, offer to run to the servo and grab a bag. No one needs to know that you’re going to the one five suburbs away.

Get some (liquid) courage

I just want to start off by saying that I don’t endorse binge drinking, though I have dabbled in it in the past. All I’m going to suggest is that a wee dram can really boost morale and confidence. It is statistically proven that after two glasses of wine, I’m more inclined to talk to a stranger about the merits of the bikini wax. And if you’re worried that you’ll say something stupid, don’t worry, because it’s a party, and everyone is basically saying stupid things, doing stupid things, and making stupid decisions. In that respect, you aren’t alone.

Feeling brave enough to introduce yourself to someone? Discover how not to shake a stranger’s hand here.

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