Thursday, February 17, 2011

5 Party Mingling Don'ts (or How to Make the Party Awkward)

Parties, depending on how social we're feeling on a particular day, are either something to be looked forward to and enjoyed with a "Best. Night. Ever" fervor, or are social nightmares to be dreaded and may cause psychosomatic flu-like symptoms hours before the event, keeping us (happily) contained to our couches watching re-runs of Sex and the City. No matter where we fall on this scale, we all have good days and bad days. After attending a party a couple weeks ago where all of the following five "don'ts" occurred more than once, here are some basic tips to (hopefully) make the upcoming party season as un-nightmarish and "Best. Night. Ever," as possible.

1) Avoid being a personal space invader. Sometimes, when we're in a small space with a lot of people, it's impossible not to get too close -- and that's fine. The forced invasion of personal space even provides something to joke and laugh about. But when there's plenty of room and someone gets thisclose (and they're not your best friend or significant other), it's very uncool. Culturally, personal space can vary, but a good rule of thumb is between a two and three feet away when you're having a conversation with someone at a party.

2) Don't be "That Girl/Guy" at the party. Whether it be alcohol or something more in the illegal realm, getting wasted to the point of blacking out or being out of control is rarely cool, especially when the person in question keeps swearing that they're not, in fact, over their limit.

3) Don't be a conversation hogger. Meeting new people is one of the best things about attending a party. Sometimes you can walk away with a new BFF, date and/or a giant pile of warm fuzzy feelings from an enjoyable night with awesome people. And sometimes, you can get stuck in a truly cringe-inducing conversation, where the other person is talking just to hear the sound of their own voice and although is asking you questions, isn't listening to a word you say. Nothing kills a conversation faster than having the person you're talking to ask you the same question multiple times because they weren't paying attention.

4) Avoid double dipping in mixed company. Going for the hummus, guacamole or delicious seven layered bean dip with the chip you just took a bite out of may be cool around your closest pals, but doing it at a party where you don't know everyone is not advised, for obvious reasons.

5) Don't gossip. Parties are great places for overhearing (read eavesdropping), and when you don't know everyone there, it's waaaaay to easy to get caught saying something you probably shouldn't be saying and having the person you're discussing find out. It's also a good idea to keep your (negative) opinions about the other party-goers to yourself -- you never know who might know the person you're talking about. Sticking to the old "Don't say anything if you don't have something nice to say," is a solid plan.

Potholes like the above are easy to avoid once we're aware of them (or have been guilty of them and felt moronic enough afterwards to avoid repeating the mistake). Even on those shy or "I don't want to go out" days, pulling together a good attitude about party-going and being social will make a huge difference as to whether or not the experience will rock . Parties are fantastic places to meet new people, make new connections and have a great time -- especially if we're enjoying the single life. Every cool new person we meet is going to know other cool people they can introduce us to, drastically widening our social circles and hugely upping the odds of finding our next date.

Originally published by BounceBack, LLC on, where I'm the dating expert.