Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taking things off-line: Mingling at parties‏

Written by Lindsay K. of the Love Kudos Duo- LKx2 

After reading an article in the Boston Globe about making small talk, my memory was jolted to flashbacks going to summer camp for the very first time.  I was excited and scared to go to camp, but I wasn't sure how to go about making new friends.  I wondered how I would be perceived by my fellow peers.  Would I make a fool of myself?  My older sister gave me some basic advice on two things to say when meeting new people.

1. Introduce yourself:  "Hi, I am Lindsay!"
2. Ask them questions.  (People love to talk about themselves, because that's what they are the most knowledgeable about.)

With the variety of holiday parties this season, you will probably attend at least one where you might not now know the majority of the people there. If mingling with new people is stressful, then come prepared to ask and answer stimulating questions.  How many times has someone asked you, "What's new?" and you responded with, "Nothing." You just killed the conversation right then and there.  Be prepared to talk about your latest project at work, gift you received from your Secret Santa, or the fruit punch you're sipping. Also, be prepared to ask questions.  Some sample questions are: who are you friends with at the party, which dessert do you like the best, and what do you do for work?  Don't be discouraged if someone responds to your question with a one word answer.  Keep asking away as they might be just as nervous you are. Lauren K. says, "However, if the person you are talking to is giving signs to their friend that they want to leave, you need to look for these signs. They might not be that interested in meeting new people either. You need to be perceptive."

Lindsay's Mingling Tip #1: Arrive early.  It's easier to go up to and talk with only a few people who are in the room.  If you arrive late, you end up with all eyes on you as you make your grand entrance.  As if you have sign on you saying, "Hi, look at me."  What would your sign say?

Lindsay's Mingling Tip #2: Practice! Practice! Practice!  The more you start conversations with people, the easier it will be and the more confidence you will exude.

Lindsay's Mingling Tip #3: If you tend to be a little clumsy, you might not want to fill a red glass of wine or punch before going across the room to talk to a new acquaintance. Appearance matters.

(An aside: Lauren K. suggests that you read the invitation to the party that day to make sure your outfit is within the scope of appropriate attire for the location and theme of the event. Don't show up in cocktail attire if the location of the event is at Plucker's.)

The ease of mingling with new people can now be used when going on the first few dates with an individual.  For example, the last coffee date I went on was with a guy who talked too much about himself. He did not read the signs that I was "checking out" of the conversation. Perhaps, I asked him too many questions.  He jabbered on and on about his brother's impregnated girlfriend and about his father's failed engagement. Do I really want to know that his father purchased a $20K engagement ring?  He really didn't ask enough questions about me and I walked away from the date not interested in spending more time with him. (He did actually call and ask me out for another date.) Dating is like interviewing for a job. Your title that you are gunning potentially for is: Boyfriend or Girlfriend. 

Remember: conversation should not be a monologue, but a dialogue between two people.

-Written by Lindsay K. of the Love Kudos duo- LKx2
-Edited by Lauren K.


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