Going it Alone, Reunion Edition
September 28, 2013 1:21 PM   Subscribe

My 15th university reunion is next weekend and since I now live back in the area of my alma mater, I'll be heading to the party at least for the day. Except, I will be going solo. How do I make the most of the experience and not give in to my wallflower, introvert tendencies?

I know some of my friends from college will be there are some point, but I don't have a designated Person to Go With which is what I really prefer in any kind of social situation where I don't know many other people. Assuming that I will meet up with some old friends at some point, how can I otherwise make the most of the party and get involved with people? In short, how do I short circuit my introversion and intense dislike of going up to random strangers to introduce myself and start a conversation?
posted by tafetta, darling! to Human Relations (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Why are you going? Are there certain people you want to re-connect with? Do you want to network? If you can put into words what you hope to accomplish, it may make it easier to navigate the room.

Have a plan. In the first 30 minutes check in with your old friends, arrange to meet them at the bar in another 30 minutes. Then seek out people whose work you respect. Indri dice yourself and ask them about what they are doing.

Give yourself permission to leave early. Of its a dog, bail, taking a couple of folks with you to a coffe shop where you can really connect!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:56 PM on September 28, 2013

One way of developing a game plan is checking to see who else will be there. They probably have an event page on Facebook, can you go there, and check the 'Attending' list to see if any names jump out at you as people you wouldn't mind hanging with? I'd then send a message to some of those people to see if they want to go together.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:52 PM on September 28, 2013

Contact the reunion organizers and offer to arrive and hour or two early and help set up. You will likely form a rapport with them.

Locate a Starbucks near the venue. That will be your place to take quiet breaks during the festivities -- alone or with others.

And it's ok to leave early.
posted by valannc at 7:13 PM on September 28, 2013

Best answer: I'm an introvert with wallflowerish tendencies too, and I actually have learned over time that I'm better off when I don't have a designated person to go with to events. I enjoy myself more and talk with more people.

What works for me is acknowledging and feeding my inner introvert, in advance. Part of introversion is a need to reflect privately -- introverts typically aren't super-comfortable with absorbing new information and needing to react on the fly. So I do research in advance. Who will be there? What have they been up to lately? What might you ask them about, and what might they ask you? Do your homework in advance and I am guaranteeing you will be more comfortable at the event.

Also ping a few people ahead of time. That way there will be some familiar faces who you'll be expecting (and who will be expecting you).
posted by Susan PG at 7:24 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

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