by Kateryna Spiwak
Does the thought of going to a party or dance fill you with fear? Although some may never lose the jitters experienced as high-schoolers, with a little preparation and planning, you can take control of a social opportunity and have a great time.
1. Adopt the right frame of mind before even leaving home. You're really just going out to have fun, not to get a marriage proposal before the stroke of 12. Take the pressure off and just focus on the fun, not the fears.
2. Build your confidence. Reflect on your attributes as you're getting ready to go out. Remind yourself of your strengths and why people would want to get to know you. Focus on the positives and put that negative inner dialogue on hold for the evening. Although you still get the occasional blemish and your hair still misbehaves, you're no longer the kid whose knees shook at the thought of dancing with your crush. You're all grown up now, with accomplishments and greater confidence in your bag of tricks. Ask your friends to remind you of your positive traits if you're getting stuck.
3. Prepare a strategy. Determine what you want to get out of the evening. If you just want to have a fun social evening with friends, do what comes naturally - stand around and chat, or hit the floor and groove to the beat. However, if your goal is to be noticed by that great gal or guy, you need to try something more focused.
4. Scan the place for interesting people. Ensure you see everyone there, and that they see you! Take note of the gems and prepare to get noticed.
5. Be seen to get noticed. This means you'll need to wander around so people can see you. (yes, it can be scary) Change locations, move between floors, visit the bar, and get out on the dance floor. (The really crafty might even want to stake out a spot not far from the facilities, because everyone heads there eventually!
6. Get near someone you find interesting. When you find someone you like, stop near them and hang around for awhile. Make sure your body language conveys approachability. Try to appear relaxed and casual, with a pleasant, friendly facial expression.
7. Get the conversation started. If they don't start a conversation, take the lead yourself. Take the pressure off by adopting the perspective that you're just being friendly and casual, rather than trying to get them to profess true love within the next 10 minutes. A simple, "Hi, how's it going?" accompanied by a smile works wonders. Too shy for that? Eye contact and a smile can work just as well to break the ice. Still too aggressive for you? If they're with friends, start talking to one of the others instead. Once the ice is broken, chances are they'll introduce you to the others they're with. Alternately, get a friend to start the conversation and naturally draw you in. Now try to assess the person's interest in you. Is small talk flowing well, or is it just marginally less painful than dental work? If you're getting a good vibe, a lot of interest, and warm body language, stick around and keep talking. If not, politely excuse yourself and move on to the next person lucky enough to meet wonderful you. You're in control, and working the room to your advantage. Refresh your drink, and off you go on your next adventure.
By preparing yourself ahead of time and taking control of the situation, you can turn an evening of passivity or boredom into a great opportunity to meet people you want to date!