Without a friend as a social crutch, or colleagues to keep you in your comfort zone, you're more likely to put yourself out there. Start thinking of parties as real-life LinkedIn and Tinder. Here's why:
1. You might find your tribe
Sometimes you hit the friend jackpot and meet people who just happen to be into the same weird things you are. You know - like conspiracy theories, the Kardashians, or who knows, cheesemaking. It happened for legal and marketing communications director Chung Siqi, 28 who met fellow art lovers at a party showcasing a local artist's work. It went beyond a fleeting connection, and she still sees them regularly to check out art launches and exhibitions.
While it can be nerve-racking to work a room alone, Dr Georgia Lee of TLC Lifestyle Practice says to watch the body language (no crossed arms, frowns, or turning your body away), and trust your gut. Talking to a group of three to four is ideal - it's easier to insert yourself into the dynamic.
2. You'll get smarter
Who knew going to parties could be good for your career? Siqi recalls an after-party with loads of guests from the tech industry. She picked up contacts and tips on making videos over drinks and canapes. It came in useful workwise, as the tips helped her create more sophisticated video clips for her marketing campaigns. Point is, go for parties outside your industry. You'd be surprised how the people you meet can help your work.
3. You could land your dream job
"After a few Instagram get-togethers, I became friends with one of the organisers, and we discussed our interests in photogaphy, travel, and social media," says Chloe*, 27. They both worked in the same industry, and he reached out with a job opportunity. She's now a content marketing and social media manager - a gig she'd always wanted to try.
4. You can build your personal brand
Here's your chance to put a face to your work - if you need to build contacts, or run a business that requires customer loyalty. So bring your A game to the schmoozing. Sarissa Schwartz, co-founder of SJS Group (which is behind the Employees Only bars) says parties are opportunities to meet contacts who might later back her business venture.
5. Meet a guy
It can happen - if you put yourself out there, and with a little luck. It did for commercial executive Thea*, 25, who went to a yacht party an acquaintance invited her to, and hit it off with the host. They've been dating for more than six months now. Similarly Yingfeng Luo, 27, met the guy she would eventually marry at a party. "I couldn't help laughing and raising my voice. It got his attention," she recalls.
Somtimes, the connection isn't so direct. "I once went to a house party on my own," says Sara Wee, 24. "I met a colleague, got to know him better, and he introduced me to a guy I dated for months."
*Names have been changed.
This story was originally published in the December 2017 issue of Her World magazine.