1. Show up to the party
This is the hardest part. Tell yourself that all you need to do is get ready and get in the door. Everything after this is coasting.
2. Find out how everyone knows the host
This is a built in conversation starter, because everyone at the party must know the host in one way or another, and there’s usually a story there. Plus, people feel special when someone is interested in them, which makes them happier, which makes them remember having a positive interaction with you. If you already know how people know the host, another great introductory question is “how is your night going so far?”
Bonus: here’s 50 ice breaker questions you can ask when everyone’s told their host stories.
3. Be vulnerable
It’s the easiest and most comfortable crutch in the world to retreat to a corner or couch somewhere and play Candy Crush/refresh Twitter until someone you know arrives. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Confess to an extroverted looking person that you don’t know anyone else. They’ll feel like your knight in shining armour to introduce you to their group.
4. Wear a favorite outfit
When you think you look good, you exude confidence. This will make it easier to mingle, rather than parking your frumpty dumpty ass somewhere and sulking.
5. Help the host
This is a little trick for people who are really shy or introverted. Offer to help the host, they almost always need a little last minute help. Then you have a job to do which distracts your nerves and gives you an excuse to make conversation with guests as they arrive.
6. Remember that people are self-centered
No one is watching you. People go to a party to have fun, not to be on the look out for anyone who seems out of place or like they don’t know anyone else. The only person making themselves aware of any awkwardness you feel, is you.
7. The worst case scenario ain’t that bad
Drive or take public transit to the party. Being in charge of when you can leave will give you the power to know that even if you strike out trying to make friends, you can make an excuse at any point in the evening and just leave! No harm no foul. Push yourself to do just one new thing, and then the next time you are at a party alone, take it one step farther. It always seems manageable to do just one new thing at a time.
8. Offer to bring a specialty drink or snack
If you bring something that has to be prepared for each guest, you can make conversation in different groups by offering to make them a mojito or something. They’ll be indebted to you and you’ll meet new people.
9. Look friendly
This seems obvious, but don’t furrow your brow in the concentration of trying to hit it off with people. Have a drink, relax, and try to genuinely enjoy yourself. You might surprise yourself by actually having fun.