Games, snacks, and good times with friends—what could be better than that? If you’ve recently been invited to a party, then you’re probably looking forward to all these things and more. Parties are an awesome opportunity to hang out with your friends, and maybe even make a few new ones along the way. It’s easy to see why you’d be excited about that. But if you find that you’re also feeling nervous about attending a party (especially if it’s for the first time), then you’re not alone.
You might feel like you’re under a lot of pressure to make a good impression on the other guests. You may also get jittery at the thought of making a social mistake in front of everybody. Luckily, you don’t have to let these stresses ruin all the fun. There are a few easy ways you can make sure the party goes smoothly for you, while still having a great time. Take a look:
- Plan Ahead: You might be surprised how many social faux pas you can avoid, with a little bit of advanced planning. You want to make sure you show up to the party on time, and that you’re ready to leave when it’s over. Give your parents plenty of notice, so they can arrange a ride for you. If the friend who invited you is celebrating a birthday, or another important event, you’ll probably be expected to bring a gift. Take some time to think about what your friend might like, and run your ideas by your parents to be sure they’re in your price range. Taking care of details like these beforehand will ensure that on the day of the party, all you have to worry about is having a good time.
- Be Polite: Politeness can go a long way when you’re trying to make a good impression. At the same time, rudeness can make other people feel uncomfortable around you, and can make your friends hesitant to invite you to future events. Remember to say, “please” and “thank you” when it’s appropriate. Be open and attentive when others are speaking to you. And make sure to thank your friend for inviting you to the party, before you leave. These may seem like small gestures, but they can have a big impact on the way other people feel about having you as a guest.
- Go with the Flow: When your friend planned this party, he/she probably chose the music, food, and activities that they like best. While some of their favorite things may not be your favorite things, you should still do your best to join in, and have a good time. You may wind up having fun, even if you didn’t expect to. And at the very least, you’ll have helped your friend to enjoy his/her own party, and they will surely appreciate you for that.
- Be Open to New People: It’s possible that you’ll come across an unfamiliar face (or maybe several unfamiliar faces). The idea of being at a party with people you don’t know might make you nervous, but there’s really nothing to be afraid of. The fact that the host enjoys spending time with both of you, probably means you have a few things in common. If you find yourself sitting next to someone you don’t know, try asking how they became friends with the host. This is an easy way to get a conversation started.
- Be a Good Listener: Odds are, there will be lots of different conversations going on among the guests. Pay attention to what the people around you are talking about, and look for ways to contribute to the conversation. Don’t make it your goal to take over the conversation, or to steer it to a different topic. This can make you seem rude or self absorbed. Instead, listen to your friends’ stories, and ask questions. This will help you to get to know the people around you better, and will let them see that you’re interested in what they have to say.
- Be Yourself: When you think about going to a party, you may put all kinds of pressure on yourself to be the funniest, smartest, or coolest person in the room. That kind of thinking can stress you out, and keep you from having a good time with your friends. Instead of worrying about being the “life of the party,” just focus on staying in the moment, and enjoying the people around you. Remember, you were invited to this party for a reason. Your friend wanted you there, because they enjoy the time they’ve spent with you in the past. So be yourself. Chances are, that’s what got you invited in the first place!
As the day of the party gets closer, you may find your nerves resurfacing. That’s okay. Just don’t let a few nerves ruin what is meant to be a fun day with your friends. Remember, you don’t have to do anything special or show off in any way. Your friend invited you to this party, because they wanted you to help them celebrate a special day. Simply keep these tips in mind, and you should be able to avoid any major social missteps, while still having a blast at the party!