For the past few years I have adopted this new policy about going to parties, friends’ birthdays – really any social event. Here it is: “If you are not going to leave when I want to leave I will go alone.” That is literally my only requirement.
I think it’s important in any relationship to always be on the same page and that starts with knowing someone’s time commitment. I am the type of girl that will do anything for an hour but any longer is really a big commitment and it probably won’t happen. I have a few friends that are on the same page as me and we go through our friends’ birthdays without leaving a trace. I was recently at a party in NYC for BHLDN (Anthropology sister line) and I hadn’t planned it properly with my meetings and it meant I was going alone. This normally would give people social anxiety but I have mastered this and here are some tips:
1. Always looks like you have a purpose. This doesn’t mean looking bored at your phone or making flirty eye contact with strangers, it means having confidence. Most of the time you have come to a party to make someone else happy, so being alone shouldn’t feel shameful. You are doing them the favor. Act as if a friend is coming to meet you but just hasn’t shown up yet. People sense that vibe and they respect it.
2. Never be rude to strangers. I shouldn’t have to teach you this since you are a human being and a part of society but you would be surprised to see how often I see this. Waiters are your friends here – not just because they will serve you a drink to ease the discomfort but because they are holding positions. Ask them about their lives and then secure them as your home base in case you get antsy.
3. Never say goodbye. The biggest mistake you will make at a party is to say your goodbyes to everyone, especially the host. Do not call attention to your departure. I know you think it’s rude but trust me, it’s not. Get out of there ASAP. Never leave your victims wanting more.
4. Don’t be the Babysitter. I have often felt that at weddings, I have a better time when I go dateless than I would if I brought someone. If you are going to bring someone, they have to have another person they know there or you are the babysitter. No one wants to be around the babysitter and truthfully, why would you go out and give yourself that assignment? Also, for obvious reasons, don’t bring people who are liable and who will get way too drunk or try and bring up Israel and Palestine issues. Those people don’t go over well.
5 Find the kids, old people or animals. This is the tip I personally use the most. I get along with kids better than adults. We don’t have to get into my issues but it’s just what makes me feel the safest. I will scan the room and instantly look for some kids to play with. I talk kid, teen and even baby – anything older and I risk the chance of bombing and I can’t emotionally handle that. While everyone might not be into kids, this could also work with animals. They require some heavy petting and playing that can keep you occupied. Old people are sort of a stretch but I sort of enjoy a sassy grandmother or a flirtatious grandfather so that is what makes me happy at parties.
Don’t go to these things hungry because they really only serve enough food to nibble at and it’s really not cute to fill yourself up with 10-15 hors d’oeuvres just to survive.
Now, if you see me at party and I am alone, don’t assume I am unhappy and single. Assume one of two things: my royal husband is away solving world peace and I am just forced to represent us both at this wedding or that I am actually a happy person that doesn’t need to surround myself with nonsense people to have a good time. Enjoy me for that one hour because I can promise you that you will never find me there any longer.