10 Tips on How to Act at a Party and Be Social

Basic Information for All Invitations

There are some things that all invitations should include. You’ll want to let your guests know the purpose of the event (if there is one), the time (start and end), the place, special instructions (for example, costume party), and style (formal or casual). You should also ask your guests to RSVP so you are better able to plan.

Here are some other things you may want to include in your invitation:

  • Whether or not your guest may bring someone else
  • Special instructions specific to the event (i.e., flashlight for a children’s nighttime spotlight tag game)
  • If it’s a children’s party, whether or not you want the parents to stick around or drop off their child
  • Type of food being served in case of allergies
  • Request for allergy or food sensitivity information
  • Dress code

10. Smile More

Research shows the confident people smile more. I’m not saying walk around with a beaming smile from ear-to-ear at all times–that’s creepy. What I am saying, is if you are in a good mood, make sure you don’t forget to tell your face. Additionally, smiling at others will trigger the mirror neurons in their brain to smile back at you–it’s contagious. People with great social skills are approachable, and nothing says, “Let’s be friends!”, than a genuine smile.


8. Build Others Up When They Arent Around

You can tell a person’s character by how they talk about others when they aren’t around. If you know someone who is constantly talking bad behind people’s back, you can be certain they are talking negatively about you when you’re not around. Be the kind of person who speaks highly of others when they are not around.


Casual Event Invitations

When inviting someone to a casual get-together, you may choose a more conversational tone. Another option is to state the facts. Whichever you choose, you'll want the same basic information.

Here is an example of a casual invitation:

Hazel is turning eight, so come and celebrate with us!Where: Bounce-and-Jump Trampoline Center at 123 Main StreetWhen: Saturday, February 18Time: 24 PMWear comfortable clothes and socksPhone: 123-555-1111Please RSVP by Thursday, February 16We hope to see you there!

An invitation that simply states the facts may be something like this:

What: Jimmy's 8th birthday partyWhere: 1234 Summerhouse StreetWhen: Saturday, March 11Phone: 555-123-4567Please RSVP by Thursday, March 9

Step 5: Make eye contact with others and stand in the center of the room

Did even the thought of doing this step freak you out? Yeah, me too. But while we wish everyone and their mom will approach us to start a conversation, this might not happen so easily when you’re far away from everyone in the room. “When people are nervous, many of them resort to safety behaviors to reduce their anxiety,” Glubo says. “Examples of this may be: keeping your eyes glued to your phone, bringing a friend with you and not leaving their side, [and] staying on the outskirts of the room. Although it feels ‘safer,’ this leads to it being harder for others to interact with us and may even signal to others that we don’t want them to approach us.”

Plan a Picnic


Set this party up for a weekend afternoon, and ask friends to bring an assortment of brunch items. It'll be a fresh-air twist on your typical brunch order. Just don't forget the sunscreen.

Put on a Scavenger Hunt

 Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

While it's easy to set up clues for things in your home, it would be even more memorable if you created a scavenger hunt that covers a neighborhood. Break off into pairs, and see who collects all of the items first.

Step 7: Remind yourself that you being there alone is a positive thing

While it’s incredibly scary to go up to strangers and introduce yourself without a plus-one, you may be able to enjoy yourself more if you look at the positive side of your solo adventure. “There are upsides to being at an event without a plus-one: you can navigate the room independently, you get to decide who to speak with and for how long, [you can] be able to leave when you’ve had enough and not have to take care of or check-in with another person,” Glubo says. “Just because others brought a date [or a friend] doesn’t make us less than and it doesn’t mean those people are in a fulfilling and deeply committed relationship [or friendships]. People and couples come to events and parties to socialize, so get to it!”

Choose What to Bring

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Although you will not always need to bring a gift to a party, there are occasions when it will be appropriate. Similar to choosing your clothing, purchasing gifts should be done as much in advance as possible.

This will give you time to put thought into your choices and to ask others for advice if you are unsure about what to bring. Typical gifts for the host might include:

  • Bottle of wine (if they drink alcohol)
  • Dessert
  • Flowers or a plant
  • Kitchen accessory or utensil (think unusual, something the host might not buy for themself)

Think About How to Approach People

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If you find yourself at a party where you don't know anyone (kudos to you for going), the first hurdle will be to find someone with whom you can talk. Look for a friendly face in the crowd. Perhaps there is someone who also appears to be alone. Make a general comment about your surroundings such as:

  • "The food looks really good"
  • "Perfect weather for an outdoor party"

If the person does not reciprocate, try again with someone else. The best way to enter a group at a party is through the introduction of one of its members. If you see someone break apart from a group, try approaching that person one-on-one.

Be aware of your body language in addition to what you say. Don't cross your arms and make sure to smile. Ideally, that person will introduce you to the rest of the group.

Getting into a partying frame of mind

This point doesn’t apply so much to more refined, orderly parties. To appreciate more rowdy ones you need to be in a certain mindset, and this doesn’t come naturally to everyone. I talk about it more in this article: Regular Logical Mode Vs. Light Fun Mode In Social Interactions. Essentially, some people are fine when social interactions are more structured, subdued, and focused on politely discussing a particular topic. They don’t really know what to do with themselves with things get more raucous and goofy, and people seem more interested in making loud jokes and performing wacky stunts than sitting around and talking about environmentalism. They may even look down on anyone who’s in a fun, partying mentality, and see them as annoying and immature. They can have a better time when they learn to switch gears and socialize in a way where they try to have some nice mindless fun for its own sake.

This article may also help you get into a more fun frame of mind:

How To Be More Fun

When you get drained at parties

Some people get drained easily while socializing, and if there’s one situation that’s going to do it, it’s going to be a party, especially if it wasn’t totally their choice to attend. Once more, see the linked article for more thoughts, but some things you can try are:

  • Have a pre-set excuse for needing to leave early, like that you have to work the next day, or you have to visit your aunt, or you’ve got to meet someone else later and can only drop by for a bit.
  • Join an activity that will give you an excuse to be more low key and take a break, like plopping down on a couch to watch a bit of a movie, or playing cards. Maybe there’s a smaller, more intimate conversation on the back deck that’s more your speed.
  • Find reasons to get away for a bit. Volunteer to run down the corner store on your own to buy more snacks or drink mix. Step aside and pretend to have a text conversation on your phone.
  • Regular tiredness and feeling socially drained often blur together. Doing things to fight normal fatigue can also socially reinvigorate you. You can have a bit of caffeine, or if you get sleepy, just wait twenty minutes or so to catch a second wind.


  • If you’re of age and alcohol is served, drink a small amount of alcohol if this helps you feel comfortable and warm up.

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The Exit

You’re the hit of the party, and you’ve charmed your way into the hearts of all. Now stick the landing.


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