You're definitely not alone if you sometimes feel awkward — or even like an alien — at parties and other social gatherings. There are ways to overcome social anxiety (even if you're an introvert), but perhaps the easiest tip is to de-stress and prepare yourself before the big event.
Photo by JD Hancock
Among many other tips, the Good Men Project outlines two very simple approaches to get yourself primed for a social event in advance: Dress up so you feel good and emotionally warm up by having a quick conversation with someone you know before you head out.
What you wear influences how you feel, so dressing up can make you act more confident. The emotional warm up is just as (if not more) important:
Much of the anxiety from social awkwardness comes from getting dropped into a social situation feeling unprepared. Wandering into a party cold makes it harder to make the mental shift to being in "social" mode… so make that shift before you even get there. What you want to do is get into a social headspace before you put yourself in the position of interacting with other people. If you're going to a party with friends, then it can help to start off grabbing dinner with them before you arrive. Alternately, if you're rolling solo, call a friend or a family member and have a brief conversation before you head over to limber up those emotional muscles.
Even simple low-investment approaches to strangers — asking the time or for directions or even a brief conversation with the barrista when you're getting your morning caffeine fix can help shift you from "solo" mode to "social," and put you more at ease in social situations. Moreover, those brief conversations with strangers help you improve your social skills — making you feel more confident and self-assured when you are talking to people you want to impress.
Good advice not just for party-going but also if you have to present to a crowd or any other stressful social occasion.
How to Stop Being Socially Awkward - Part 2 [The Good Men Project]