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How To Survive In Awkward Social Situations 
 
by Jeremy Moore May 24, 2005

Get Into Soap

It may seem obvious, but if you are going out to a party you want to shower as close to the event as possible. A morning shower will not be enough for an evening party, even if you just spend all day in an office.

Be careful with cologne and perfume. A little goes a long way and what may smell nice to your spouse may not go over so well on your boss. The bad thing about odor is no one will tell you if you stink, but they will tell other people. Play it safe. Shower immediately before and keep odor enhancement to a minimum.

Speak Up

When you make eye contact with someone do not stare and wait for them to say something. Speak first. Break the ice by giving your name or ask how they know the host.

Those who simply stare silently and smile may think they are just being shy, but it's actually a little creepy and they wind up looking like psycho stalkers.

Read Up

Opening a conversation with "so, read any good books lately?" may seem lame, but a variation of the language actually opens up a lot of common ground. If you have enough time, find out what the best selling book is and read it before going to the party. Odds are you'll find someone else who has read it and you'll have something to talk about.

If you do not have the time to read a whole book, read the newspaper from that day, particularly the sports page. Find out how the local team is doing and start a conversation with that.

If you are a sports neophyte, find a quirky news story. National pieces like exploding frogs in Germany or Beluga Whales in the Delaware River are excellent conversation starters.

Be careful though, because not all news is created equally. If you are new to a crowd, and you do not know how people would react, it is best not to start a conversation with political or religious news.

If you don't like to read, at least get caught up on the most watched television show. But as our society becomes less and less one of reading, those who read are often thought of as interesting. It's best to shut the television off and pick up a newspaper.

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