Dr. Romance on How Not to be Shy at a Party

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Dr. Romance on How Not to be Shy at a Party
The key to socializing at parties lies in two things: confidence and intention.

Introverts can enjoy the parties, too, if they respect who they are and don’t let negative fantasies take over. Limit your social engagements to those that are manageable or meaningful to you, and allow plenty of time for being by yourself or with a single friend, if that's what makes you happy. If you're not happy about missing out on all the parties, here are some strategies to help.

It’s no surprise that awkwardness, fear and embarrassment arise from a poor self-image. To overcome this problem, recognize that you’re not going to please everyone, and that sometimes you’ll be disappointed, but it won’t kill you. It's also OK not to be the life of the party. Everyone loves a good listener, and just observing and enjoying the atmosphere is a perfectly fine thing to do. Seek out one person you know and like, and focus on enjoying him or her. Also, volunteering to help at the function will give you something to do and you'll feel better. Even if you're walking around picking up the empty cups and used plates and napkins, you'll feel less awkward than if you're just standing there.

When you’re in a new, nervous situation, don’t use alcohol for false courage. You may survive being tipsy, but if you really want to be seen as charming and attractive, you won’t allow yourself to behave badly. Instead, practice before you get into the new situation. In It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction, I recommend this “roll the tape” exercise: picture yourself attending the holiday function, and watch the scene play out like a video. “Re- roll the tape” several times, and go through the scene again. Practice some different responses and different approaches until you feel comfortable with it. Then, you can try it in the real world.

To enhance your positive experience, do the following steps before any new activity:
1. Make a mental note of the possibilities: Can you learn something there? Can you meet a new friend? Will just getting out of the house and around new people feel good?
2. Remind yourself of your goals: You’re going there to make new friends and to have fun.
3. Review your positive personal qualities: What do your friends like about you? What do you like about you? Your intelligence, your sense of humor, your style, your conversation skills? Are you a kind and caring person? Reminding yourself of these qualities means you will enter the event radiating that positive energy.

Research shows that people who have a positive outlook have better lives, partly because a positive attitude is attractive and charming, and people are drawn to it. As a result, you make friends. When you are positive you are supportive of yourself and others, you notice the good things more than the bad things, which makes it easier to connect to others. In addition, you feel much better about yourself, which means you feel more deserving of friends. It’s a positive spiral, and goes up and up.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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