Best Way to Survive a Party When You Don’t Know Anyone

“My cousin’s having a big party,” your BFF told you. “She said I could bring someone. Meet you there. I’ll get there before you.”

You got the parents’ okay. You got the outfit, the hair, the makeup. Everything’s smooth. You walk in the front door and see the party’s jumpin’. You look around for your BFF . . . and look . . . and look. No sign of her. Who are these people? You don’t know anyone. You check the address—yup, you’re at the right place. Scan again. Not one single person you recognize.

Survive Party Best Way to Survive a Party When You Dont Know Anyone

Okay, do you run the other way? Hide in the bushes until BFF arrives? Keep standing there like a loser? No thanks.

Really, it’s not true that everyone is staring at you. They’re busy trying to have a good time themselves. But when you feel self-con­scious, it can feel like everyone is looking at you. And who knows, some cute guy might really be looking at you. So let’s pull this off.

Step 1: Make- an entrance.

First, get your panic under control. Stop thinking, “I don’t know anyone! I will be left standing by myself, and everyone will be staring at me wondering who the Outcast is.” Think instead, “Look at all the new people I get to meet. Since they don’t know me, they don’t know that I am shy or not Miss Popularity at school. So I can be the Social Butterfly here.”

Act. Imagine you are your absolute favorite actress. The one you just know could waltz into a party and feel at ease. Pretend you are making your way onto the red carpet at the MTV awards. Stand like she would. Hold your head up like she would.

Put a smile on your face. It will look like you are having a good time already.

Pretend you see someone you know. Look over the crowd. Make your eyes light up and smile bigger as if you are oh-so-thrilled to see these people. Start walking like the actress would, right into the party.

Walk in. Walk right to . . . (choose one of the following:)

  • Option 1: the bathroom. It gives you a place to go to calm your nerves. It gives you a place to go check your hair, your makeup, and that smile you plastered on. It also gives you a place to Go . . (hey, being nervous can do that to a girl!).

Don’t know where the bathroom is? Not a bad thing-that gives you a reason to wander around looking like you really have somewhere to be, someone who is waiting in suspense for you to return. If you don’t have any luck finding it, ask someone who looks approachable. Obviously, a female is rec­ommended for that delicate question. (Hey, now you’ve talked to one person! That’s a start.) Once you’re in there, don’t stay too long.

  •  Option 2: the food and drink place. Go get a drink (but nothing with alcohol, which can cause you to do something embarrassing). Stay in control. Grabbing a soda will give you something to do with your hands other than resort to habits such as playing with your hair, which give away the fact that you’re nervous. If there’s food, you probably won’t want to take any yet. If you are standing there by yourself and eating, it will be obvious that you are all alone.

Try to make conversation with somebody near you, such as the girl in line behind you, while you are getting the drink. You’re not coming off as desperate, just friendly. Try to think of something to start that conversation that will help you see whether she has Rescue Me potential. For example:

“I’m dying of thirst. I wentfor a run before this and totally over­did it”

“I love your earrings. Where didyou get those? They would look great with the T-shirt I got at the concert last week”

Hopefully, she’ll pick up your cues and respond. If not, oh well. Not everyone is as socially skilled as you are. So if she just sort of says, “Yeah” and gets her drink, don’t let it throw you. It’s her loss.

Step 2: Walk around.

Still no sign of BFF or a familiar face? Walk around the room. Try to look like you aren’t anxious, but are content to just hang out by yourself for a minute until you return to all the people who are dy­ing to hang with you, la-la-la.

While you are walking anywhere, make eye contact with people. Say “hi” as you walk by, even if you don’t know them. You’ll look confident—and approachable. And when you get people to smile and say “hi” back, you will feel better.

Step 3: Find the-host.

Look for the person who is throwing the party. Or ask someone where she is. Wait until she is not deep in conversation with anyone then say, “Hey, great party. I’m your cousin’s friend, (your name). Have you seen your cousin?”

You can get a feel for how friendly she is from there. If she says, “Nope” and turns back to her crowd, then there you go. Don’t feel stupid; she’s the one who needs Hostess Lessons. Or she might start talking to you, and you can throw yourself at her mercy. Casually go, “Ack, I don’t know anyone here.” And she can introduce you to someone to talk to.

Step 4: Find someone else by themselves

Best bet is to choose a girl for this one. Better to avoid talking to guys you don’t know when you don’t know who’s who yet. Casually walk over and say hi. Don’t hang on her. Say something like, “I can’t find my best bud anywhere. Do you see a girl with black hair down to here . . . ?” or “Do you know what time it is? I think my friend is late.” You have established you are not a geek with no friends. And if she has no one to hang out with, she can help you in your mission and give you someone to talk to. (Don’t use and abuse her though. If your BFF shows up, don’t blow this new girl off. Introduce her to your BFF and remember how it feels to be alone. Let her hang with you guys if she seems to want to.)

Survive Party 1 Best Way to Survive a Party When You Dont Know Anyone

Step 5: Last-ditch effort

Okay, say you are still feeling really dumb being at this party alone. You shouldn’t be, you know, but you are. Got a cell phone? If you can reach her, call your BFF and find out her ETA (estimated time of arrival). No cell phone? Ask to use the host’s phone. It’s okay to ask to use someone’s phone! Just don’t hang on it too long in case they don’t have call waiting.

What if your BFF is a no-show? Being Girl Wise means always having a backup plan before you get to the party for situations like this. What if the party isn’t your style, or gets out of hand? Make sure you know how to reach your parents for a ride home. Or call a cab. Don’t stay somewhere you feel uncomfortable. Thank the host and take off. And hope for a Better Party Next Time.. . .

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