Geez. Another Holiday Party…By Myself

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?


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5 Responses to Geez. Another Holiday Party…By Myself

  1. Dana says:

    Well, the first thing I’d do is find a friend to go with me. I think I went to one party solo and the night ended with me losing my keys, drinking too much, and just having an awful night. Of course, we’d have to go in my car bc I like to run the show. 🙂

  2. Molly says:

    I agree that wearing something cute that might be a conversation starter is a great idea.
    Also be prepared to comment on someone elses cute item or beauty asset. A woman with a fabulous hair style will always get more cheery when her efforts are acknowledged.
    When I’m alone at a party filled with people I don’t know I always look around for someone who looks open to conversation. Also, I think it’s good to to have some conversation sentences that inspire people with fun stories, and not obligatory exuces. For example, “So where would you like to go on your next vacation?” is an open ended non-pressure question. Commenting positively on the food, drink or holiday decor are also safe. However, “So what kind of work do you do?” is one that I’ve always found invasive and uncomfortable, especially in this rocky financial climate and can lead to making the other person want to get away from you. (unless you’re at a biz party when you might be making biz connections) My feeling is that people who love their work and/or are passionate about their career will tell you about it in a natural progression. Those that are between jobs, or in a job that just “pays the rent” may not want to discuss it with a stranger.

    I also have a tip for any party hosts. Years ago when I used to throw parties they were very successful because I did one little thing that I think has huge importance. And that is, just don’t introduce people by their names and leave them be. Find a commom thread between them, and let them know it. For example, “Liz, meet Eleanore. Eleanore has the world’s cutest doggie and Liz is thinking about getting a Yorkie” Or “Jackie, meet Sandra – You two are the most passionate Broadway show goers I know. Whenever I want to know which show to see, you two are my go-to pals”.
    When you tell people their common bond, they’ll talk all night.

  3. Ms.Sasser says:

    I combat this a few ways as I have been single for the majority of my holidays. When I have had a plus one, I find I’m plagued with the “their time frame” thing that others have mentioned and I don’t like that.

    I always drive so I can leave when I’m ready *smile*.

    I only go to friends parties where 1) they expect me to be single and introduce to me other solo guests or 2) I know many other folks. For work parties, I tend to hang out with co-workers who may be solo for one reason or another.

    I also host my own holiday party every year. Nothing big 14-20 people. I’m so busy being host, I don’t notice.

    Hope that helps!

  4. Rhona says:

    Great tips. I really like the looking as cute as you can one. For myself, my tip is to just go and have fun. Telling you the truth, I have never felt awkward when I go to a party alone. I am forever single and do and go everywhere mainly alone so when I go with people, i usually get annoyed because I have to be on their time (lets go say hi to these people {when secretly, I could care less about those people} or, lets leave now {when really, I want to stay!}. For myself, my tip is to just go and have an open mind. I am not a social person by nature so speaking to strangers is tough but if I let my guard down for a minute, I have the best time. So, i guess that is another tip. Leave the sheild outside and smile. Go alone, have fun, speak to who you want, look hot and leave when you get bored. 🙂

  5. CLV says:

    I happen to be a huge fan of going to things alone, parties included. I don’t like being pressured to stay at a party (or any kind of event) when I’m just not feelin it and would rather go home because the person I came with is having a lovely time. Conversely, if I’m having a ball and my date is not, I don’t want to feel like I have to cut my good time short. (I’m not so great at the whole compromising thing – hence the reason single life works really well for me!) I’ve just found it much easier to be on my own. I really like that first tip about taking some extra care with your appearance – I’m definitely much less anxious about social situations when I feel confident that I’ve taken the time and care to look the best version of myself. It makes me personally more comfortable in my own skin, and more likely to reach out and strike up conversations with others.

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