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A-Z guide on how to interact at social gatherings

For some people, the hardest thing to do at a party is mingle. There’s nothing worse than feeling that you are the only one with nobody to socialize with. Here are a few tips to help you out.

a. It is important to know who the host is and why the party is happening (especially if you are going as a friend of the friends).

b. The first thing to do when you arrive at the place of gathering is to stop at the door for a few moments and look around. This will give you time to get your bearings. If you recognise anyone, walk towards them.
c. Even if you don’t know anyone, walk into the room with a smile like you know at least half the people there. Chances are you will get smiles in return.

d. Locate your host. Compliment them on the great party, and the number of people there. In fact if you admit that you don’t know most of them, they will probably introduce you around.

e. After you are introduced, put your hand out for a firm handshake (no sweaty palms). However, if you are going to do this, it is essential that you judge the situation of how these people will react if you put out your hand. If you do choose to shake hands, make sure the handshakes are not too limp nor too hard. Shake once or twice and and say something, like ‘hello’. (No one wants their wrist bones broken or to feel watery palms). It’s important to make a good first impression.

f. Ask for the person’s occupation, if your host has not told you.  Ask if they usually live in the area. If it’s a business party, ask them about their experiences in the business. Wait for one answer before the next question. Talk a little about yourself – where you are living and what your line of business.

g. Take a 360 degree look around. If you see people in groups chatting, walk towards them. See if you can overhear bits of conversations. If it’s something you are familiar with, say: “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help overhearing. Hi I am ——” and “If you don’t mind, I would like to hear your opinion about this, since I am interested in this too.” More often than not you will be welcomed. Let the person continue to speak and finish what he’s saying. When you are sure he’s finished, state your opinions politely, not aggressively.

A good way could be to say: “I am sure you are right but don’t you think…” You will most likely make acquaintances like this. When a topic of conversation fades out ask the people in the group about themselves. They will probably ask you the same.

h. Seize upon commonalities. If you are from the same workplace, you may have a lot more in common. Ask them about the work in their department, any changes that have been made and so on.

i. Formal or informal, your dressing should suit the occasion.
J. When meeting someone, use their name right away, as in “Good to meet you, John,” while looking them in the eyes. This helps you remember them and makes you seem friendly and confident.

K.  When you use their name twice, “Hi John, it’s really nice to meet you John,” you are far more likely to remember their name later in the evening.

l. Desist from talking too much about yourself. No one likes a bore.
M. People love to talk about themselves, so ask them about their work, or their interests, or what they like to do for fun.
N. If they look healthy and fit, ask them if they work out, and compliment them on their appearance. Chances are you will find a common point of interest.

O.  Do not criticize anyone or talk about anyone to people you meet. You never know if they might know the person about whom you are talking.
P. Never stand in a corner and wait for someone to come to you to talk – it probably will not happen.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.