The delicate art of attending events alone

It’s awkward and it’s hard.

It happens to us all. We find ourselves committed to an event – be it a launch party or a colleague’s wedding – and as much as we’d like to, we just can’t say no.

Worse still, we aren’t even allowed a plus one.

I’d like to think that as I’ve become older, I’ve grown better at the delicate art of attending events alone – gaining wisdom after each awkward encounter, like a fashionable owl in new season culottes. But I suspect my success mostly arises from the fact I’ve become a facsimile of my mother in the supermarket line, talking to anyone that’ll have me. 

And on that note, my first tip for attending events alone is:

1. Befriend someone who also looks alone. You’ll need someone to take outfit shots for you later

Basically, anyone else who is also there alone has lowered all expectations of encountering any semblance of quality company. So you and your witty repartee will slide right in, like a blogger into the #frow when the house lights go down. And because you don’t expect to ever see them again, you can totally wank on about your ex for HOURS without any guilt, while you drink 132 glasses of champs and cry-laugh hysterically. 

2. If you can’t find anyone alone, befriend someone who looks uncomfortable to be there

Chances are, if they’re looking awkward, they’ll welcome the distraction. Open with something along the lines of “sooooooo… who was your fave WAG on the Brownlow red carpet?” This also acts as an incredibly accurate barometer of the conversation you’ve just roped yourself into. If they begin with “OMG, how can I choose, I just love how they all wear wedding dresses IRL” and you don’t detect a hint of sarcasm, back away slowly.

3. Wear something that has room for a burrito belly

Wherever you are, you’ll be eating a LOT of the food they have on offer, as you pretend to read important emails while you “wait for someone.” Don’t feel uncomfortable in your awkwardness AND your pants – wear a sack dress. Everyone is happier when they can eat their weight in canapés. LIVE FOR THE NOW.

4. Always, ALWAYS have an “out” story 

For events, I prefer “I’m so sorry, I have to go because I have late dinner reservations with friends #sadface.” It looks like you actually have friends, but it also serves as an excellent reminder to event organisers that there’s never enough food to sustain even the smallest carbon lifeform at these parties. 

Weddings are harder. Try, “I’m sorry, I have to go literally anywhere but here. As soon as humanly possible. Because your uncle is creepy and your pre-choreographed couple’s dance is sending me into involuntary vomiting fits.” 

Works every time. Who needs married friends anyway?

Follow Bianca’s awkward journey at events she doesn’t belong at over at @_thesecondrow.

Illustration by Twylamae who also makes totes and tees.

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