I hate parties, not my own mind you but other people's parties. The whole act of being put into a situation of intimacy with people that I do not know has always been a challenge for me to deal with. Shyness never completely goes away but I believe that most people that know me would not use the word shy to describe me so I believe I have overcome most of my shyness. It is funny how I can go into a dance club filled with people and not have a problem at all but a party of twenty people that I do not know most can give me anxiety. The reality is that there is no one in that club that I have an obligation to talk to except of course the bartender if I am thirsty, easy.
Small gathering have often blown out my nervous system. I do not do small talk well, hate the stuff actually and would prefer to actually not talk at all if small talk is involved. Other people's parties can be tricky but I have developed a system that works for me: speak when spoken to when it comes to people I do not know. This system works out very well and I find that I can then relax and actually enjoy myself at other people's gatherings.. I am sure to people that do not know me that this might read stand-offish and regretfully that is the way it has to be. I figure if they are really interested in talking to me then they will come up to me. I have also thought of the other people at the party with the same strategy, ships in the night I guess.
Social functions used to be chest crushing because all it is is small talk for the most part. I remember going to one function for my husband law firm some time ago, I am legally blind without my glasses or contacts so to help myself get through the evening I simply did not wear corrective lenses. This meant I could not make eye contact because I could not see their eyes! If you do not make eye contact then you have no social obligation to talk to the person, I walked around with a smile. Speak when spoken to. At the end of the meal I turned to my husband, smiled and asked, "Am I finished?" He grinned and said yes. As we made our way to the car I slipped my glasses back on... success.
Developing coping mechanisms to deal with the world that we seem to find ourselves in is truly the key to surviving well. Meeting so many people along the way that honestly, honestly, for what ever reason, could only care about themselves has taught me worlds. I do not have care about everyone. Caring for myself in the best way possible however quirky it may be is truly the best possible way to live. When you are able to put yourself; your body, your mind and your spiritual beliefs first, then you have so much more to give to others, you start out whole and strong.