Friday, December 3, 2010

Help! I hate mingling at social events!

Saturday Night Live's Rihanna and 'Shy Ronnie'
Question:  So the holiday season is coming up and I have all these holiday parties I'm invited to.  The majority of them I can't avoid and feel obligated to go, but the problem is that I HATE mingling and making small talk!  Any tips on how to survive these awkward events?! (Jacksonville, FL)

Social Shrink:  It's only awkward if you make it awkward.  Here are some quick holiday party survival tips that should ease your pain:
  • Smile.  It seems simple (and yes, it may be fake), but smiling will not only show others you are friendly and enjoying yourself, but will also keep you in check from rolling your eyes and feeling anxious.
  • Let others do the talking.  If you don't like small talk but it's unavoidable, always be the one to ask the questions: "So, what do you do?" or "What are your plans for the holiday?"  Generic questions put the ball in the other person's court and frees you from having to talk about yourself.
  • Make eye contact, nod and keep your body language in check.  It's important to be engaged, open and an overall good listener to those you talk to.  If you cross your arms or constantly look over their shoulder, many will be offended that you are not "all there."
  • Avoid crass language and TMI stories.  TMI = Too Much Information.  No one wants to hear about your recent trip to the bathroom or your ability to use the "F" and "SH" word. 
  • BE CONFIDENT.  Above all else, see it as a time to make new friends, learn about a new topic, and an opportunity to overcome your shyness.  The more you partake in "small talk," the less afraid you will be for future similar situations.
Have fun and happy holidays!


  1. Hello, no offense, but you explained "how to pretend" not "how to survive" these events. This works for an hour or a bit more, but after 3 hours of small talk and BS, bad food and such most of us on the same side of things just want to run away.

  2. 3 hours??? How about 30 minutes