Earlier today I posted a story about the time I went to my friend’s wedding solo. No date. No family. No friend group. Just me. As nervous as I was, it turned out to be a great time, so I put together this silly list of no-fail rules for the next time you find your self at an event solo. Enjoy! And be sure to share any additional rules that come to mind while reading!
RULE # 1: Leave your cell phone in your purse.
Smart phones are by far the biggest crutch used by the single person. We find ourselves defaulting to our phones in all sorts of situations simply to avoid social interaction. By getting lost in text messages, or facebook, or apps, we reduce the odds that we’ll actually have to talk to a real live person. We figure that as long as we’re distracted, no one will bother us. STOP. Seriously. STOP. Put your phone away. Fiddling with it doesn’t make you look cool and interesting, it makes you appear standoffish. It doesn’t make you look popular (so many important texts to answer!), instead it makes you seem uninterested. Seriously. Put your phone away.
RULE # 2: Leave your bitchy-resting-face at home and slap on a smile.
Bitchy-resting face. It’s been around forever but somehow we all just started calling it that this year. But you know what I’m talking about, right? Unfortunately for many people, their face just settles into an expression of annoyance, or in my case boredom, when they aren’t thinking about it. This is the time to think about it. This is the time to consciously acknowledge the way you appear to others. Smile. Look up, not at your feet (or your phone – Rule #1). Smile. Make eye contact. Smile. Be the kind of person that others will want to talk to.
RULE # 3: Have a drink.
If you don’t drink, I understand. If you do imbibe from time to time, well this would be one of those times. Do not get drunk. Do not get sloppy. Then you’ll just look like a fool. But do have a drink. Like it or not, alcohol is the social lubricant and has helped to break the ice in way more than a couple potentially awkward situations in my adult life. Don’t be shy. Relax. Loosen up. And order yourself a glass of wine. Also, if you’re holding a full glass, you won’t have a free hand to break Rule #1.
RULE # 4: Be engaging.
Be conversational. Ask questions. Don’t give one word answers. These things seem simple, but oh how quickly we forget. You are a working professional, so when someone asks you what you do for a living, tell them. This doesn’t mean you need to ramble on about the intricacies of your job, but answer the question for crying out loud. “I’m a teacher.” “I’m an engineer.” “I’m a medical student.” Those are statements, not answers to questions. Talk about what you do; create conversation. Same things goes when someone asks about your hobbies, where you’re living these days, or how you know the bride. Answer the question, and ask one in return. We are grown-ups. Let’s use our words.
RULE # 5: If he asks you to dance, then dance.
Dancing. The most dreaded part of a wedding reception for any single person. There is nothing worse than sitting at your table, fiddling with a cocktail straw (not fiddling with your phone—Rule #1) watching all of the happy couples slow dance to Frank Sinatra. This one is tough for me in general, because I’m more of a dance when nobody’s watching (not a “dance like nobody’s watching”) kind of girl. If the room isn’t dark and crowded, chances are you won’t find me busting out many moves. Thankfully the band at this particular wedding stuck more to upbeat blues and folk music (in lieu of the dreaded slow songs) but I still wasn’t feeling particularly moved to make my way to the dance floor. That being said, when the only other I-don’t-know-anyone-at-this-wedding guest encouraged me to join him and a small group on the dance floor, I did. Reluctantly, but I did it. And it was a whole lot more fun than drumming my fingers on the bar, debating if I should order a second glass of Chardonnay.
[On a side note, at a wedding 2 years ago, I agreed to dance with a friend of the groom, who, while swaying to some slow song, chose to share with me that he had a very large… well… I think you know where I’m going with this… (I can’t even bring myself to type the word that he used, but I’ll give you a hint that it was 4 letters, started with a ‘w,’ rhymes with ‘rang’ and is commonly used by middles school boys.) I wish that wasn’t a true story, but it is. And see, even when the dance is terrible, at least you’ll walk away with a good tale and some serious laughs!]
So when someone asks you to dance, just say yes.
BONUS RULE/RULE FOR EVERYDAY LIFE: It’s all about the confidence.
I have this friend from college, Lindsay Norton, who after cross country practice every day would hike up her sweatpants (Urkel style) and strut around the locker room threatening to wear her outfit to dinner, insisting that it was “all about the confidence.” Thankfully Linds never actually wore her ensemble to the dining hall, but she did teach us all an important lesson. Life is all. about. the confidence. Period. People will see you the way you see yourself. So hold your head high, stand boldly, and be proud of who you are. Others will respond and most importantly you will start to believe it yourself!