Yep. The Big Holiday Season is almost upon us. And there will be lots of parties for people of every ilk. Work parties, client parties, Christmas parties, Hannukah gatherings, Kwanzaa celebrations, New Year’s Eve (and Day) festivities, community events… No matter who you are, you’ll probably be expected to attend more than one.
And even if you like parties, attending these parties alone can be a challenge for some people. I’m one of those people. I like parties just fine, but I don’t like going alone. Not having an escort is one of those times when being single can suck. I need someone to hold my hand through these things. So I have a few “rules”; here’s how I manage to navigate these parties alone, without crying:
- Looking cute. I put in a little more effort to make sure I look better than usual. Feeling like I look good boosts my confidence. And confidence is a good thing to have at a party. But by “looking better than usual”, I don’t mean over-dressing or obsessing about my appearance. I mean wearing a favorite outfit that I already know looks good on me. And then I add an interesting piece of jewelry and great shoes. Not only do they add to the “cute factor”, the jewelry and shoes have a job. I’m grateful that compliments about shoes and jewelry are often conversation starters. So, the person that approaches me to say “what a great necklace”, is one less person that I have to approach and clumsily try to start a conversation. They’ve taken the first step, which is so much easier.
- Arriving at the right time. I try to find out as many details as I can. What time does the event begin and end? About what time will most people be there? Is it a party party or a dinner party? For a party party, I try to arrive at a time when I think the party will be in full swing. That way, I don’t have to awkwardly stand around by myself waiting for things to get started. If I arrive too early, I’m already ready to leave when the party’s heating up because I’ve been there too long by myself. Mingling in a crowd is easier and it’s not so obvious if you’re just standing around not yet talking to anyone. Plus there’s just more people to choose from and you might even see people you know. At most dinner parties, there’s usually a cocktail hour prior to being seated. I try to find out when dinner will actually be served and then arrive 1/2 hour before that. Again, it’s the stand-around-and-talk-to-people part that’s uncomfortable for me. Once I’m sitting down, I’m much better. If the host does the seating, I try to find out as soon as possible who I’m seated near. Hosts hate this, but I have been known to stealthily change my seat if I don’t like where I’m seated. Sorry, but they have to be people I want to sit with because I don’t have a Plus One to talk to.
- Finding people like me. By “people like me” I mean other people who came alone. There’s strength in numbers.
- Hanging out near the food/drink. People lined up for something to eat or drink are just chattier. Plus, holding a drink or plate of food gives me something to do with my hands…which, for some reason, is more of an issue that it should be.
So, I’m ready. If I haven’t found a Plus One (even a temporary one) by my next party invitation, I’ll put these guidelines to good use and will probably manage to have a good-enough time.
What tips can you share to make going to a party alone even more bearable…and maybe even lots of fun?