A lot of people during the holidays experience feelings of loneliness and isolation. Parties that are a time to socialize and meet other new people can be difficult when you don’t feel like you have anything in common with anyone there.
Here are some ideas for meeting other people at holiday events, whether it’s your annual office party or your mom’s big holiday dinner, so you’ll have a good time without feeling stressed out!
1. Look approachable
A lot of people come to the party wanting to stay by themself. They sort of disappear into the background, and no one knows who they are. So greet people you recognize and try to talk to them. If you don’t know anyone, just smile, look approachable and hang out near a group of people who seem to be having a good time—it’ll be contagious! Have a glass of passion fruit wine, some eggnog, or maybe a plate of hors d’oeuvres in your hand so you can look like you fit in there too.
2. Ask open-ended questions
Lots of people are worried about socializing at the holiday party because they don’t know what to say. It’s better to focus on the important stuff, like talking about their families and interests, rather than constantly talking about themselves. If you ask open-ended questions like “What do you like to do for fun?” or “Do you have any children? Where did you grow up?” then people will feel more comfortable enough to share some things. They may feel pressure if they are wrapped up in their own feelings and secrets, but if they can open up a little bit, they’ll enjoy meeting other people and be glad that they decided to come out of their shells!
3. Be socially generous
People love to tell their stories to good listeners, so be sure to ask follow-up questions and show genuine interest in what they have to say. Ask them questions like “How did you end up there?” or “What made you decide on that?” and encourage them to share as much as possible. If you’re really interested, be sure that your tone of voice and body language show that you are interested. Don’t just nod your head while looking off into the distance. More often than not, it’ll come off as disinterested, so maintain eye contact while turning your body towards them and nodding with enthusiasm. Keep your questions coming! Listen attentively and try not to interrupt.
4. Don’t be negative about yourself
If you’re feeling anxious about being at a party where you don’t know anyone, you’re going to be more likely to make snide comments about people. If someone laughs at your joke, pretend like the joke was yours and not theirs. When someone asks if you want another drink, try a smile and say no—don’t make an excuse to get away from them by saying that they should stay away because they just drank too much or that they can’t handle the alcohol or whatever. Smile when people compliment you on something, say yes if they invite you to do something, and don’t take every opportunity to talk about how terrible it is that there are so many people at the party who are being negative.
5. Compliment others
Compliments and positive comments will make people feel better about themselves, which makes them smile. Don’t be shy about telling others how nice they look or sharing with them how much you love the way their outfit matches your shoes. Don’t try to make people feel like they need to do something that would embarrass them. Just tell them how beautiful they look or compliment the food and ask for more when it’s getting low on the table. Compliments go a long way in making someone feel good about themselves, especially when coming from a person who seems genuinely interested in what they have to say.
In conclusion, being at a party is a great way to meet new people, but you’ll end up having a more enjoyable time if you put aside your desire not to talk to people and make an effort to talk about what interests others.