The person ahead of you in line.
Could be for the bathroom, another drink, whatever, you will feel compelled to talk and bond so quickly (out of the sheer necessity) with this person that, by the time their turn comes for whatever, you will have tricked yourself into thinking you could maybe meet up out of line.
Half an hour later when you’re standing next to them again the magic will be gone because love is a lie.
The person you’re pretty sure is flirting with you.
This is a two way street. Once you realize you’re in a potentially unchaste situation, one of two things has been happening:
You’ve been making the advances
You’re being advanced upon
Either way, there’s a delicate balance to uphold. If you settle on A, you can’t let the realization that you’re the flirter upset your conversational acrobatics and winning smile for fear that your sexy interlocutor might fade off into the crowd, only to be seen again in brief, awkward glimpses. With B, you’re faced with the choice to double down on this person’s lustful intentions or pick the right moment to fade into the crowd yourself.
You’ll want to put in some thought; a wrong move and you’ve got a whole thing on your hands. Although, I guess you could probably get at least two acts out of it. You know, unrequited love, wide eyes glazed over by the impending drudgery and disappointments of an innocence laid to waste; a bildungsroman that leaves the audience confused, a little angry, but with a sense of personal agency they haven’t had in years.
Might be worth it.
Your friend who mysteriously got ten times drunker than anyone else.
Another delicate situation that requires some measured consideration. After all, you want to make sure your friend is okay and contained. This will take patience, a level head and, at times, a not so civil tongue. Also you’ll want to pay attention to details, your well deserved reward awaits the next morning when you’ll get to wax epically poetic about your good pal’s time as everyone’s favorite besotted rascal. “Nononono, I don’t think anyone was actually mad…”
Your friend’s significant other that no one knows.
They’re probably nice, right? And what a potential bummer of a situation they’ve been thrust into. Meeting new, interesting, generally cheerful people is already enough of a drag, but to feel obligated to make a good impression while suffering through a litany of inside jokes that might be a decade old at this point as well? Bad news, you guys. That’s no way to live. My advice? Only date loners. The more estranged from friends and family the better.
Your friend’s friend that they’re really sure you’ll like.
I don’t know if this is true across genders, but other guys, especially when introduced to you by a mutual female acquaintance are just the absolute worst.
I mean, not literally, or eventually, but at first? Man. Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe the feeling.
I mean mistrust for the unknown is a time-honored human tradition and projecting inadequacies is popular in its own right. But simmer those over an innate sense of procreative competition? Baby, you got a tense stew going.
You know, until the introducer walks away, you find common ground in a matter of minutes and bask under the warm glow of newfound friendship and the human capacity for camaraderie amongst the ruins.
The person who is inexplicably skeptical of you.
This is different from #5 in that it’s not constrained by the ability to pull ‘em out and let the ruler decide; it could be anybody. No matter what you say, or what you do, you’ll be stung by a smirk or a quick exhalation, maybe briefly brought to nausea by an eye roll, not so subtly bulldozing its way through your peripherals.
There’s no reasoning with an arbitrary skeptic. They do, however, serve as an example by which to police yourself and hopefully avoid becoming the same sort of hostile, dropped-at-birth-and-left-there-for-a-little-too-long, dead-on-the-inside monster that keeps trying to poke a stick in your spokes.
The person you talk shop with.
This might even be your line-buddy! It seems like these days the topic bobbing at the surface of the conversational sea is what one does to afford their rock & roll lifestyle. Quick to draw as it is, talking about work toes maybe the thinnest line there is and you won’t even realize how much of a bore you’re being until it’s too late and you’ve lost your partner to sipping and looking around for help. Which, come to think of it, is good to keep in mind with person #2 regardless of whether you’ve settled on A or B. Worst case scenario, you’re boring, they realize that existence might really just be a flat circle and they stumble off into the night, hemorrhaging hope for the species.
If you meet more than 7 people at a party you might be person #3, in which case you should take a moment to reevaluate what carnage you may have left in your wake so far, and make some decisions about the longevity of your night.