How to Approach Strangers at a Party

A party at the house of a friend, eleven o’clock, on a still-warm evening. A metre away from you, a group of people are chatting animatedly. Someone is telling an anecdote, it might be something about a train ride they took or the mishaps on someone’s bicycle, and their companions break in occasionally with rich laughter and stories of their own. The group as a whole seem confident and attractive and the main narrator especially so. But there
may as well be a high solid brick wall or a lamprey-filled moat between you and they. There is resolutely no way you could ever move in to say hello. You smile your characteristic weak, loser’s smile, pretend to study the bookshelf – and leave the gathering ten
minutes later. Much of the advice is about what one might say in the circumstances. It could be better to start somewhere else: with what one should think. Chronic shyness is
a guess about what other people are like. Though it doesn’t feel like it when it has
flooded us, it reflects a rationally-founded assessment as to the nature and intentions of other members of our species. It is not a chemical imbalance or an impulse: it’s
a philosophy – albeit a deeply unhelpful one. Its essential assumption is that other people are self-sufficient, that they do not lack for company, that they are not alone with
anything, that they understand all they need to know – and that they do not share in
any of our frailties, hesitations, secret longings or confusions. This echoes, in an
adult form, the assumptions a child might make of their teacher, a competent stern grown-up who appears never to have been young, silly, tender or interested in a pillow fight.This
lack of faith in the humanity of others is a natural tendency of our minds. We go by
the external cues – and few people feel safe enough to display their vulnerabilities. We therefore come to assume that we are living among superior, metal-plated cyborgs rather than fragile, water-filled uncertain entities. We cannot believe that most of what we know of our own minds, especially the self-doubt, the anxiety and the sadness, must exist in
those of strangers too. We forget that we also give off few signals as to what we’re
really like. We too are filled with emotions and interests that we inadvertently end up
hiding, that others might not normally expect of us – and that could easily lead a stranger to misjudge us and feel intimidated. But we’re slow to convert this crucial insight into
a social strategy, into a confidence-inducing knowledge that others must also, as we do, harbour requisite doses of warmth, longing, curiosity and sorrow – the ingredients from which new friendships are built. A seemingly happily-married person might have a lot of agony around the course of their relationship; a pugnacious sportsman might suffer from chronic anxiety and shame; a CEO might have vivid memories of their struggles and a lot of space in their imagination for people whose careers have yet to take off. A very intellectual
person might – internally – be longing for a new friend who could patiently encourage them to dance (or forgive their inept girations). Our error is to suppose that the way a person seems is the whole of who they are: our anxiety closes off the core fact that we are all much more approachable than we seem. The key to self-belief – and to the mindset of being
able to talk to strangers successfully – doesn’t lie in strenuously insisting on our own merits; its source is a more accurate and less forbidding mode of imagining the inner lives, and especially the inner troubles, of strangers. Please comment, like and subscribe and take a look at our shop for more from The School of Life

100 thoughts on “How to Approach Strangers at a Party

  1. Did this video help you? Do you have any techniques of your own for better social situations? Let us know in the comments below or join the discussion on our App right now with fellow students of The School of Life:

  2. just think of that: All the people on the party have come to talk, socialize and get to know new people. So, the chances of being welcomed in a new conversation is very high.

  3. the best relationship you can have is the relationship with yourself. stop caring what other people think. rather know thyself first than try to have a conversation with a person or 'persona' or mask or ego. the real TSOL lesson should be: 'how not to approach strangers at a party and still retain absolute wholeness'

  4. Decides to make the white man the CEO, the black man a ballplayer, and the Asian woman an "intellectual person". Ugh annoying

  5. All jokes aside cause I can come up with many in this thread, notice if people you converse with are actually listening or are they just waiting to speak. Are you one of those people? Most are so no worries however you can change and trust me if you are a good listener you will have more friends then you want…

  6. When approaching strangers at a party, the same basic rules apply as in dating:
    1. Be handsome.
    2. Be attractive.
    3. Don't be unattractive.

  7. I was worried that google knows to much about me, and then YouTube recommends me this. Yea right like anyone would ever invite me to a party haha

  8. as I do agree with the statements that the video makes I wanna point out and ask something. It seems as if most of your videos follow a structure of "dont be scared for feeling X people feel X too!" and while i do think its a very helpful to remind ourselves that, I wonder what should one do at, lets say, a party where the people, influenced by the way modern society works, dont present signs of weakness and even judge others if they do show such signs? Not all people we'll meet have the needed emotional intelligence to recognize their faults or needs, to solve them or accept them which may lead to sometimes hostile behaviours. I hope this makes sense.

  9. My trick to avoid this is to be early (for example, offer to help with putting things together on the day), then you wil meet the first group of people who enters, since they'll see you are already there, and never end up in the situation of not knowing anyone at all,and you might be in the talking group.

  10. The last time I thought of approaching complete strangers at a party…. umm.. i don't think there ever was a 'last time' like that.. but given the social dynamics required to function as a so called normal being, we need to have basic social skills handy.

  11. What would happen at a party of only shy people?
    When I was young I was one of the most popular kids in school, but I was also a coward bully. I got a good dose of my own medicine later in life and I am very grateful for it. Now I am still a bully but I am only interested in picking on bigger bullies and defending their victims.
    I hate parties and large groups in general but I when I am in those situations I am drawn to the outcasts or shy people. But I also sometimes feel like they think I think they are pitiful and that I am just feeling sorry for them. But that is not the case at all. People who are popular and well admired in this shithole world are usually shithole people. I know this from my own experience.

  12. The thing is you have to aproach the group with the same OR higher level of energy than they have. Otherwise If you go in passive you will suck the energy right out of it and they will soon ignore you. The insight about our existential condition is great for a later time when you might want to build comfort one on one. Thanks!

  13. I feel right at home at a house party, even when I know no one. I used to just walk into peoples houses 1am on a Saturday where I heard music and never once been in a fight or thrown out haha. Must be a fairly tolerable drunk.

  14. You should approach every conversation with the fact in mind that you can learn something from this person and they from you.

  15. School of Life! Long time subscriber here, love all the free knowledge given.

    This comment is constructive feedback on the subtle perpetuating of stereotypes in this video.
    There are three characters that stood out to me and the race they are represented by.

    CEO – White male
    Sportsman – Black male
    Intellectual person – Asian-like features with glasses

    With this channel be the huge platform at it is, I hope you will take this comment into consideration and not play into the narratives that we often see. Blacks can be CEO's too, Asians aren't just intellectuals seen with glasses, etc.

    Thanks for all the free knowledge, perhaps this can be a subject of video in the future!

  16. Academy of ideas; – how to over come downward pull of other people, developing resilience, mastery, etc.

    School of life: how to approach strangers at a party!

  17. really who the fuck actually thinks other people in general are smart? you either live in paradise or you just dumb af

  18. yeah but yesterday this brave little dude tried to make FIRST CONTACT by asking what was written in my tattoos and then touching my arm as to "see better", and i almost punched him. then he kept trying to come back at the worst moments and i felt kind of bad for him, because he meant well maybe and thought he was being misunderstood. but take a fucking hint, come on! shrug me off and go dance, you dont need my approval, especially after i was an asshole to him.

  19. It’s kind of awful to consider that THIS many people suffer from not being able to just simply talk to someone else. It’s appalling to think that there are so many people who are socially inept.

  20. Unfortunately messages like this seems to be disconnected from this generation… could be just me though lol

  21. Please could you tell me what's his accent? I know it's British but it is so soothing. It sounds different from Received Pronunciation.
    It is very important for me to know

  22. The amount of parties I've been invited to.. and the times I've literally done nothing at them.. I just don't like people though, people bring drama. I only meet friends through close friends..

    But I'm trying to be more social although I am perfectly content being alone.. after a party you're not catching me going out for atleast 2 months.. I know it's sad but I don't even feel bad, I just want to improve a little for business reasons lol

  23. You make a friend by acting like a friend. Treat new people like you would anyone close to you and watch their shields drop

  24. I used to be shy, and at some point during my senior year of high school, it had begun to change. Growing up, my mother used to always say, "fake it until you make it." So for some reason, I finally absorbed that, and started entering situations pretending that I wasn't anxious as all hell, or insecure about approaching others. I began pretending that being open and engaging wasn't a big obstacle…after all, "they" wouldn't know what I felt inside, that it was actually me pushing myself to be that way. They just saw and experienced the result. Eventually, it became natural. Sort of like adopting a habit.

    Of course I do still get nervous about certain situations or people, but it doesn't imprison me the way it used to. It's basically believing, even if only in that moment, that you're feelings, mind and opinions are worthy of someone else's attention, or at the very least, you're worthy of trying….you try because you care enough about yourself to make the attempt, to not throw in the towel.

    I've made great friends and received job opportunities just by putting myself out there and starting up a conversation or being a goof ball. And I thank my mom frequently for helping me with that. I'm fun dammit! And have interesting perspectives to offer- or that's what I tell myself…and it works in pushing me to try stepping out of my comfort zone 🙂

  25. To approach people at a party, you first have to be invited to a party. That's easier said than done, because invitations depend on people who just want to throw an entertaining party, not one where shy people wonder around trying to connect with people they're not able to connect with. Thus, invitations tend to go to extroverts who'll liven up the party, not to people perceived as party poopers and wallflowers. The only way for a shy person to get an invitation, is by being some extrovert's brother, sister or best friend. Not getting invitations of course further inforces the shy person's feeling of being excluded from social contexts and reduces his opportunities to learn how to connect with people, which can only make him feel even less welcome and more likely to fail if he ever does get a chance to approach someone at a party.

  26. interesting… my problems is not approaching people… it is tolerating them talking about themselvs… forever… ugh

  27. Put it simply: someone or some are in some aspects, is a loser like you. so approach with pure confidence

  28. And after you watch this whole video you realise that you're still shy approaching strangers at a party

  29. My personal advice is: hit the bottle until interesting happens. Sage advice to anyone reading this….

  30. The answer is secretly hidden in the lenght of the video (approach the circle and ask them if theyd like to get high) hahaha good video though

  31. think you guys should just turn off the chinese translations. or at least get a better translator.
    your title says: how to approach strangers within a party.
    as in, a political party.

  32. This video is both interesting and redundant. Interesting in the sense that it attempts to explain the human psyche and emotions like 'insecurity' and 'anxiety' in a social situation. It provides a philosophical insight but fails to actually suggest any practical methods to 'approach strangers at a party', the very question in the title. This renders the video redundant and ultimately not very useful.

  33. I understood these concept a few years ago and it released so much empathy! It was totally liberating and gave me freedom for every social aspect of my live. I understood that 99% of what what I feel is the same in different doses and ways in everyone, and this frees you up from social anxieties and from the fear of being judged

  34. Does anyone struggle getting their voice heard at parties? Like physically? My voice is naturally quiet and people can't often hear me

  35. Those behind this video have zero/distorted knowledge of this topic – school of life hasn't lived this life for sure!

  36. If you see someone alone: talk to them

    If you're alone: talk to someone.

    You probably feel like they'd feel awkward but honestly if they're rude you don't wanna be their friend in the first place. If you keep trying to find someone/ a group to talk to say at lunch,class,work, or a party you're more likely to find someone to talk to than not trying at all. Best chance is to also find someone alone or someone who is a friend of your friend/relative/coworker-basically a mutual friend.
    Just try to make conversation without barging into their conversations. Also don't use the bring gum tactic cause likely they'll just want you there for gum and ignore you whenever you don't have any.

  37. The sad thing is I am incredibly forward, not shy at all and will chat to strangers, but they look at you and think you're a weirdo because you don't know them, people are so backwards

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