For the average introvert, a party can be a tough situation.

Take it from someone who has been forcing themselves to go to parties since they were six years old (although those parties had much more bouncy castle and a lot less booze), parties are sometimes the worst. Which is a real tragedy considering that it’s one of the main ways that everyone interacts with each other and makes friends outside of the internet and school. So what happens when the thought of hanging out with your friends sounds like a good idea in theory but is terrifying in reality?

Here's some tips to help you get through.

1. Adopt an extrovert

As a qualified life-long introvert I can proudly say that I have introduced myself to someone, alone, roughly two times (once for a job interview and the second time was in an icebreaker game in pre-school that we shall never speak of again). Why? Because I have always had a trusty extrovert pal by my side to sweet talk me into any conversation.

While it's true that you can be a confident introvert, making sure that you have your pre-selected extrovert sidekick by you for the first twenty minutes of a party is a fail-safe way to infiltrate a tough crowd without dying of an anxiety-induced heart attack in the process.

2. Find the outliers

A great way to skip the small-talk, pass go and collect two-hundred dollars in the process is to find people that are on their own. Odds are they will be feeling a little overwhelmed like you and it means you won’t be competing with five other people for an opportunity to speak. One-on-one chats means that you can quickly say goodbye to polite convos about the weather and hello to d&ms.

3. Look for ‘the couch’

This doesn't need to be a literal couch–it could be a bench, a loungeroom or a couple of chairs by the bonfire. The 'couch' will change shape depending on the party you're at but its defining feature is that it's a chill area. It might have one person having a cheeky nap, a couple of dancers with sore feet taking a break and one person scrolling through Insta or calling their boyfriend. At a glance, this little area might not seem like much but it's usually quiet, comfy and tucked away from everyone else, giving you the chance to take a break from the party for a bit.

4. Find the dog

If all other strategies fail, making a beeline for a pet at a party always works. It may sound a little cliché but dogs truly are man's best friend. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or tired of everyone, find the family pet. Cuddling a dog gives you something to do and saves you from looking like you'd rather be anywhere else. Also you’ll attract other animal lovers which can be a great way in to easy conversation. 

5. Ditch the party

If all else fails and you're really not enjoying yourself, just ditch the party. You gave it a go and getting yourself to the party in the first place is an achievemnt in itself, so pat yourself on the back, order an Uber and get home where you can recharge a little by yourself.

by Anna Warwick