We have all been in an awkward social situation before, and they are not a good time. With the holidays quickly approaching, you can bet that there will be a few awkward gatherings, dinners, parties, or encounters. So, while the person inside of you says to run, to never come back, don't go so fast. While a certain event might be super weird, and make you feel like jumping out of your skin, sometimes it's good to stick it out, and to make the best of things. (And of course, what if you can't escape, like if you didn't drive to the party, or if your parents force you to stay at the awkward dinner at Aunt Martha's.) So, here's to all the uncomfortable situations that you might face, and 5 strategies to get through them.

1. Overextend yourself, and talk to somebody else standing alone (that you don't know.)

This one is probably the easiest thing to do, and is my personal favorite. If there is somebody else standing alone, chances are good that they are equally as uncomfortable. Go and make small talk with someone by complimenting them on their outfit, or by asking them how they got to know the host of the party. You could even discuss the decor of the party, or how much you love the glasses that are at the table. Talk about anything, but just try to make a new friend, and save somebody else from the weird silence and standing in the hallway kind of party.

2. Invite yourself, jump into a conversation between a group of people.

If you feel too scared to approach a random person by yourself, then jump into a big or small group of people, and listen or contribute to the conversation. You may find that you have a lot in common with a certain person or group. Don't make it awkward, just do it, just force yourself to go and make conversation.



3. Offer to Help.

If there is nobody around your age at the party, or if you see that the host could use some help, then go offer to lend a hand. Ask what you can do for them, and roll your sleeves up and clean. Don't be one of those people that leaves a mess for the host to clean up by themselves, if anything, just start tidying up plates or rinsing off dishes. Don't hesitate to help clean up or run an errand for the host, plus it gets you out of talking with strangers.

4. Find an Animal or a Child.

If there is nothing to clean, and nobody to make conversation with that you feel brave enough to approach, then find children or animals. Children are always accepting, and if the people at a party are being stuck up, you can always count on kids to give you a good laugh. Ask them about school, or about what they want to do when they grow up. Another good option is to find an animal, if you're an animal person, then go and hang out with Max the dog. You can probably have a better time with an animal than you can with some humans. Or, better yet, an animal might lead the way into a conversation with someone else who is near the animal. Animals are always a good pick.

5. Photo-Op.

If you are at a gathering for a certain person, then ask each person at the party if they would like to say a message to the man or woman of the event. This is such a good way to mix and mingle with other guests. If you are at a special dinner, or some other event, then offer to take pictures of or with the guests. Just go from group to group with your phone or camera, and ask if you can take their picture, or if you find someone alone, then offer to take a picture with them. This is an awesome way to remember the event, and to make your way around the crowd. Plus, when the event is over, you can send the pictures to the people you took pictures of (a great way to network if you're a business person.) This way the host can also use these pictures to showcase their event, and could even use the pictures in Thank You cards!

Whatever you use to get yourself through strange events, use it as an opportunity to make a new friend, or to use improve your social skills. Good luck and good mingling! :)