The Christmas party season is upon us and while extroverts and outgoing people love the glitzy social whirl, others are filled with panic or dread at the thought of having to meet and converse with a room full of strangers.
But the good news is, however shy you are there are techniques you can use to make the party go with a swing and if you are an extrovert at the other end of the social spectrum there are ways of ensuring you do not go completely over the top and put your exuberant foot in it.
So whether you are a shy wallflower or a natural social butterfly, here are tips on how to survive your Christmas parties and shine like a star.
- Before you go to a party, make a positive "identikit" of yourself. Concentrate on all your good points and do not focus on any negative aspects of your looks or personality.
- Wear simple, uncluttered clothing. If you feel awkward in an outfit, you will look awkward-
- No matter how unsure you feel inside, when you arrive at a party adopt an attitude and posture of confidence so you project a positive image to everyone around you.
- Be a good listener. Karen Williamson, editor of health magazine Top Sante, says: "The art of being irresistible is to focus 100 per cent on others. Not only is it a great antidote to any self-consciousness you might be feeling, people find being listened to immensely flattering".
- Become a small talk expert. Make sure you have read lots of newspapers in the preceding weeks, seen the latest films and memorised a few jokes. That way you will never be stuck for things to say.
- Earmark the people you want to talk to and make a beeline for them.
- If you are unlucky enough to get stuck with the party bore, smile and say: "It's been absolutely fascinating talking to you, but you really must meet so and so, you have got so much in common".
- If the party misery starts pouring out their 'latest sob story, tell them a heartbreaking story of your own. They will not hang around long. And if you find yourself cornered by the party drunk, introduce them to the bore and duck out quick.
- If someone insists on dragging you into a party game that you find excruciatingly embarrassing say you have got stomachache or agree to be the adjudicator.
- If you bump into an ex and immediately feel upset take some time out in the loo to calm down or confide in a friend how you feel. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to have a truth session or screaming match in the middle of the party.
- If you find yourself at a party where you do not know anyone except the host, break the ice with a stranger by asking them how they know the host.
- Alternate alcoholic and soft drinks to make sure you stay in control and do not do anything you will regret later.
When it comes to office parties, there are three golden rules:
- If the boss cracks a joke, laugh;
- Whatever a female boss is wearing, admire it;
- And however awful the food or wine might be, do not moan about it in front of the boss. He or she will remember.
And finally: when you have had enough of a party, go home.