11. A good host will set up games like Cornhole or beer pong or something so that people can break ice that way. Otherwise, walking up to a group that’s talking and standing awkwardly until you can either jump into the conversation or walk away and try with another group. Eventually, you might luck out and walk into one that introduces themselves to you and lets you join them.
12. I found this step-by-step guide works.
Step 1 is walk up to someone that isn’t threatening. I’m a dude. So I’ll usually walk up to other dudes (rather than women – dudettes?) and start with: “Hi, how do you know ‘hostname'”?
Step 2 is tricky, you have to LISTEN to the answer. I found the best method is to pick up on something they say as the answer and follow up.
“Oh I work with Kenny at the Library.” Follow up: You work at the library, what do you do?
“Oh I know Kenny, we grew up together.” Follow up: You grew up together, where did you grow up?
“Oh I know Kenny, we play ‘sport-name’ together.” Follow up: How long have been playing ‘sport-name’?
A lot of small talks is literally listening to what the person said and just asking to know more about what they said.
For example, maybe their kids are friends. You might have kids. You might be an aunt or uncle to kids. You can chime in with some funny story about kids you know from a co-worker. Maybe you can just ask them about their kids. How old are they? Boys or girls?
Also, a great question I use every time is: “So, going on any vacations this summer?”
Most people are doing SOMETHING in the summer. If they are a drip and have NOTHING planned, maybe you chime in with what you are doing or where you visited recently. “I was just in Toronto, I loved it – have you ever been?”
Honestly, I used to be terrible at small talk until I learned to just listen to what they are saying and keep asking questions and chime in about myself if they stumble upon a subject that I know (football, golf, history, travel, computer games).
It takes some practice, good luck!
14. I usually leave when no one is looking.
15. Bring facepaint and a bottle of something interesting to share. Usually a great icebreaker 🙂
(Helps if you know how to facepaint, but it’s funnier if you don’t :P)
16. I don’t. I just drink while praying for an extrovert to decide to adopt me as a friend.
17. Food, I always go for food and drinks. People and I may not want to talk to one another, but we will do it if it lets us be closer to the food.
18. That’s a tough one. You can navigate the room and try to find an interesting conversation to butt in on. Find a crowd wearing eyeglasses and talking aloud about anything…you’re good to go.
19. Remember, everybody you ever met (except your family), you once never knew. It gets easier.
20. I just don’t go.
21. Find the one other person that isn’t too social and doesn’t really know how to socialize.
There are usually more of them than you think.
Then you say hello. Feel free to stand awkwardly for a little while and then comment on the drinks they have there.
22. I sit in the corner with sunglasses on, sipping a drink, pretending like I’m the host’s FBI agent just stopping by to say hi.
23. Use the half-cup rule.
Only fill your cup halfway. Go around and introduce yourself to people and let the conversation happen. If you like the conversation/if you like the person, drink slowly. If you want it to end, drink quickly and excuse yourself to get a new drink. Rinse and repeat until you find someone you like or you are too drunk to care.
24. Make sounds with your mouth and direct it at people.
25. Sit on the couch staring at everyone for a few hours with a half-finished drink because you’re too awkward to get up and get another and risk losing you’d safe seat, then inconspicuously leave as if to have a smoke and call a cab. Works for me every time.