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Mingling at parties is an art, truly. It is hard to achieve the perfect balance of socially acceptable banter that verges shy of the ‘overbearing-slightly too intense-drunk’ border. For millennia, introverted teenagers and young adults have struggled with the art of mingling. It is to these people that I present this easy list of what-to-dos in very simple situations, which will occur at any given congregation of homo-sapiens.
Situation: You walk into a house party, alcohol in hand and you’re alone. There are a few people you know at this party. They are nowhere to be seen. There is a circle of people talking animatedly in the next room. You feel like you’re the second Homer and, maybe you should have showered once that day, too.
Solution: You don’t smell bad. Okay, maybe you do, but that’s never stopped anyone. Walk into the circle like a mad man, nudge in between those cloistered elbows. Extend your hand and smile. After you’ve introduced yourself, you don’t even have to make much of an effort, really. You’re part of the chain now, you follower, you.
Situation: You are conversing, one-on-one with a stranger and you have run out of small talk. You don’t want to engage in physical interaction with said stranger. The stranger looks bored and their eyes are constantly wondering past your head, searching wildly for an escape route.
Solution: You aren’t actually boring, so why are you acting boring? Tell them something you believe. Be frank about anything. For example, if the stranger is wearing shorts that could pass as undies, point it out. They will either laugh, or walk out. But honestly, anything is better than being stuck in a cycle of small talk (and they were trying to escape anyway). Most importantly though, keep asking them things. Most people love talking about themselves, and if you seem interested enough, they will talk for hours.
Situation: You are standing on the verandah, looking down into a backyard full of piss, sweat, and flesh. You can see the groups that have formed. You can see their dynamic. In one group, people are waving their arms wildly, shouting and doing handstands. In another group, people are talking quietly, smiling and standing slightly apart from the others.
Solution: You probably came to this party to have a good time. Just going outside has put you out of your comfort zone and you don’t feel the need to enter danger zone. You should know the types of people you get along with and the types you don’t, by now. Do you like shouting? Do you like being the centre attention? If you answered no to these, then choose the quiet group. They are not the boring, safer option. They are people who you can talk with easily. They are your kin, embrace them. If you answered yes… why are you still reading?