Parties can be a daunting prospect when you’re shy. Even if you can psych yourself up into going, you might face an evening of standing in the corner, either hoping no one will notice you or that someone will take pity and come and talk to you anyway. But, there are ways to master your shyness. You can put the days of turning up and going home as soon as possible “well, at least I went” attitude behind you. You CAN say goodbye to those occasions where you write “Failed. Again!” in your journal. Try these things and embrace that inner social animal that’s screaming to be let out.
One of the best things to do when you’re shy at a party is to constantly remind yourself that that is simply what it is - just a party! Even though your anxiety might make you feel like everybody is there to look at you and is expecting you to be the source of all the fun, you will be absolutely fine and not out of place if you just take a drink and set yourself up where you can take it all in at your own pace.
You don’t have to enter a party with the expectation that you need to have as much fun and get up to as much mischief as the main character in a college movie. In real life, parties are very rarely that crazy! The only objective you should have is to enjoy yourself, and if that means being reserved among your close friends then that’s fine!
It’s good to have a grasp of your personal limits. If you are already being super brave by beating your shy nature to even be there, don’t let yourself get pressured or persuaded in to doing things that you don’t want to. You don’t have to dance on a table in front of everyone to ‘party successfully’!
If your shyness stems from a fear of not knowing what to say to people, then take some of this uncertainty away by preparing three or four lines of conversation before you even get to the party. This will prevent awkward silences that are the nightmare of any socially anxious person!
If you are really stuck for something to say to someone at a party, you can never go wrong with a nice, simple compliment about their outfit or their hair etc. it makes you seem friendly and it can often transition in to a wider conversation about fashion or beauty that you can get involved with.
Becoming a master of small talk is the best way to go to stop yourself from feeling too awkward at a party. Don’t feel bad about going through all the basics, not every conversation you have has to be about the big issues like politics, just stick to the small stuff and you can work your way in to deeper things if you are getting on. If you want something general, talk about the last movie you saw, or the latest music you’re listening to. One of the things I taught one of my really shy friends to do was to tell a really bad joke – just not controversial or rude. You’d be surprised how much this can really break the ice.
Rather than spending all of the time at the party focusing on yourself and falling in to a hole of shyness and anxiety, try to push those thoughts aside and focus your attention on others. This will help you to socialize and not think so much about your own insecurities.
It’s always a good idea to ask open ended questions when at a party. It means that the person you are talking to will have the opportunity to talk for a while, giving you time to prepare your own answers and taking some of the talking pressure off of you.
Be careful of the kind of body language that you are putting across to the rest of the partygoers. Just because you are shy, it doesn’t mean you have to sit in the corner with your back to most of the room. Doing this will actually have the opposite of your desired effect and will bring more attention to you!
Things get easier, the more practice you get. You might never conquer your shyness, but you can learn to be less anxious about it and have more fun.
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