This is me when you invite me to a thing:
And this is me the day of your thing:
I’m getting better, though, because I’m tired of being anxious every time, and I refuse to be that person who flakes out and doesn’t show up at the last minute. Nobody likes that person! Actually, plenty of people like that person, but it’s still so disheartening for party-givers when that happens.
Here’s what I do. Maybe it will work for you, too! It’s a simple 2-step process.
1. Before the party, get your creep on.
Be honest – as an introvert, if there’s one thing you know how to do, it’s find out about people on the internet. Use this to your advantage! If it’s an online invitation, you already have the names of the other guests. Otherwise, ask the host who will be there.
Before the party, look them up on Facebook, Instagram, wherever. Look at their faces, so if you’ve only met them once or twice, you will still recognize them (this is a big issue for me, and both a cause and an effect of my shyness.) Look up where they work and what they’re into.
Now make notes on good things to ask them–their kids if they have them, their job if they have one, or something else. If they just posted about a TV show, ask them, “So what TV shows are you into this summer?” It’s actually a pretty safe conversation starter, regardless–even the rare person who doesn’t watch TV will usually be happy to tell you why they don’t (because they are busier than any other person on the planet, or because they only read great literature in the original French and Russian, etc.), which gives you plenty of conversation fodder.
2. At the party, get people to talk about themselves, and be fascinated.
This is your whole game plan.
A lot of times we introverts don’t want to go to a party because we don’t feel up to performing. Good news! You’re not the performer! You are the audience. It’s an easy job, and people love you for it.
I am in the middle of reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. I picked it up because I wondered why it had been in print for eighty years. Carnegie might as well have named the book, Have You Tried Not Being a Self-Involved Jackass?, and it’s a great book that might change my life, so there’s that. Anyway, Carnegie discusses how people love to talk about their own things, and they crave a feeling of importance.
If you make this happen for people at a party, they’ll think you’re a wonderful conversationalist, and they’ll be right. So instead of focusing on, “Oh God, what will I talk about?”, focus on, “What can I get other people to talk about?”
When you feel like it’s time to go talk to a different person, don’t panic. Tell the other person you need to go get a drink of water, grab more food, go pet the cat in the corner, say hello to the host because you haven’t yet, or step outside to get a breath of fresh air. All of those things are fine.
As a shy person, it also helps me to wear an outfit that physically and emotionally comfortable. And right before the thing, I think about how I’ll be glad and proud of myself later for going out and being social..because I always am!
I’d love to hear other people’s advice about parties, too. Thanks for reading!