Whether it’s at the office, with extended family or with friends, holiday parties can either be really fun or super stressful. Here at the Science of People, we want to help you enjoy yourself during this busy season and that includes finding ways to make the most out of parties you may or may not want to attend.

Here are our top five tips for surviving holiday parties.

Make Your Presence a Gift to Others

Did you know that without even saying a word your mood can directly impact how other people feel?

People subconsciously mimic facial expressions causing them to pick up on other people’s emotions – both positive and negative. The effect is even stronger when people are drinking.

In one study, researchers observed how often people mimicked other people’s emotions in group settings. They found that alcohol significantly increases how susceptible people are to catching the emotions of others.

Bottom Line: Make sure your presence at holiday parties is a gift to everyone you greet by showing up in a positive mood that’s fit for the occasion.

Have a party after a stressful day at work? Check out our tips to help you snap out of your bad mood before heading out.

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Let Us Rescue You from Awkwardness

Are you afraid of going to holiday parties and standing around feeling uncomfortable because you struggle to start conversations or because you find yourself dealing with awkward silences after just a few minutes of talking to people?

Fear no more. Our Social Superhero is on standby 24/7 waiting to rescue you from awkward social situations. Check it out:

With the help of this friendly bot, you’ll never have to worry about running out of things to say again. Any time you’re feeling less than spirited at your holiday party, send our Social Superhero a message to receive killer conversation starters, anti-awkward tips, jokes and even fun dares to liven things up.

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Wear Your Holiday Spirit On Your Sleeve

Most people know that what they wear affects how other people perceive them but did you know that your clothes also affect how you subconsciously perceive yourself?

Studies have found that people behave differently doing the same exact tasks depending on what they are wearing.

Whether you wear an outfit that you think is fun, sexy, or warm, it will make you feel and behave that way too.

When deciding what to wear to your holiday party,  think about how you want to feel and how you want others to feel around you, and choose an outfit that expresses that.

For some of you that might mean proudly wearing your favorite Christmas sweater, or you might want to choose a dressy outfit that makes you feel confident, or even something from your day-to-day attire that you feel relaxed and comfortable in. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s something that helps you embrace the holiday spirit.

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Eliminate Stressful Decisions Before the Holiday Party

When you go to a holiday party, you want to let yourself relax and enjoy the festivities. To do that, you need to try to eliminate anything that might stress you out when you get there.

Here are a few examples:

  • If you’re on a diet, have a general idea of what you will and will not eat so you don’t have to debate with yourself whether or not you should eat something every time you’re offered food.
  • If you know there is going to be someone at the party that you don’t along with, make sure there are enough people at the party that you do get along with so that it’s easy to avoid that person. Just in case you do have to interact with them, plan a couple of polite things you can say so the conversation is as peaceful as possible.
  • If you have other plans that overlap with the party but don’t want to decline the invitation, decide what time you’re going to leave before you arrive and let the host know so they’re not surprised when you leave early.

It should come as no surprise that research shows that experiencing stress, even for a short period of time such as a conversation with someone you don’t like, lowers your overall mood. By dealing with potentially stressful situations ahead of time, you can save yourself from letting one small thing ruin your entire party.

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Display Body Language that Shows You’re Open to Making Memories

  1. Keep Your Body Open. This means keep your arms and legs uncrossed, don’t hunch and stand/sit with good, confident posture. Here are a few examples:
body language, holiday parties
  1. Listen with Your Body. Subconsciously show people that you are listening to them and that you genuinely care what they have to say by making sure your entire body faces them. Slowly nod your head 3 times when you want them to share more. Doing this shows that you’re engaged and takes your conversation to another level.
  1. Watch for the Toes. Did you know that people’s toes are like an arrow pointing to where they want to go? If you’re in a conversation with someone and you notice they seem distracted or uncomfortable, look to see what direction their toes are pointing in. If they’re aimed toward a specific person or location, the bathroom for example, then you know that they’re ready to end the conversation and move on toward what they are really focused on.

About Science of People

Our mission is to help you achieve your social and professional goals faster using science-backed, practical advice. Our team curates the best communication, relationship, and social skills research; turning into actionable and relatable life skills. Science of People was founded by Vanessa Van Edwards, bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma.

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