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Two Equally Awkward People + One White Wine Spritzer + 2πr = Permission to Go Home
In my twenties, my way of dealing with packed cocktail parties was to sit in the nearest potted ficus (there are always potted indoor trees in large public rooms, but so rarely chairs). After I’d polished off three glasses of wine and gotten mulch stains on the back of my skirt, I would go home. Something had to be done, I knew—and that thing would not be that I would suddenly become more extroverted or chatty with strangers, because, in my case, that was not possible. Instead, when faced with intimidating social situations that might lead to valuable personal or professional connections, I now have a formula: Circle the room (the perimeter of a circle is 2π times the radius) with (one!) white wine spritzer and, in the process, bump into or knock the drink out of the hand of an equally awkward person, engage in conversation while apologizing and cleaning off her skirt, then go home with some kind of contact information from her. Inevitably, this works because awkward people are very easy to spot (look for: people trying to look busy or wrapped up in their own thoughts, which really means just standing alone by the buffet.) Further, they make the most interesting conversation because they are too befuddled to make witty banter. They just blurt out their true, undisguised thoughts and, in my totally biased opinion, honesty is always riveting.