I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I can give back to my people (“The Awkwards”). I, like you, feel uncomfortable in social situations 99.9% of the time. My anxiety sky-rockets, my palms sweat to a point where it feels like I’ve washed them but not fully dried them, and unfortunate things fall out of my mouth (chewed up granola at 2 out of 3 public gatherings). Just last night I interrupted a conversation between a “normal” and a “semi-famous” and I said to the SF, “Wow. You’re like, really handsome.” Thus HALTING the conversation & making everyone involved uncomfortable. Shwing. Nailed it. Dontcha wish your girlfriend was AWKS like me?

So here it is everyone. Put your hoods over your head and tighten the drawstrings: Here is YOUR guide to surviving a party as a Legit Awkward.

1. Entering the party.
This is how we do it! It’s Friday night! And I feel alr—NOPE. No. I do not feel alright, Montell Jordan. There are at least 50 people here and I thought this was a small gathering of friends. Oh cool, I wore a sweater. Is it hot in here? I feel like dwarves are pointing a thousand hair dryers at my crotch. Why am I sweating there? DON’T. PANIC.

SMILE. SMILE THROUGH IT. No one can hear you screaming on the inside. Don’t smile too much though. You don’t want to look like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” Cool your jets, murder face. Find a place to put your jacket. It’s usually in another room – which will be a cool hiding spot later if this gets out of control.

2. Making smalltalk.
An awkward person’s worst nightmare. I can’t talk about the weather with you because I am too busy wondering what it would feel like to get sucked into another dimension. Can we talk about that? Or how sometimes I like the feeling of my own leg hair? NO. WE CANNOT. BECAUSE THAT IS WEIRD. I know that… now.

Just try, you awkward unicorn. Try hard to make the smalltalk the world was built to have. Write down notes. Here are some ideas:

-Award shows
-Sports? Is that a thing?
-How cool it feels to sneeze
-Imminent death

3. The snack table.
Hot tip alert: apparently you’re not supposed to stand by this all night. Which is BULLCRAP. Listen, if I could stand beside a 10-layer chip dip all night, girlfriend, I would. But apparently you should mingle. And not behind a potted plant, playing Candy Crush. Instead, get a plate and stock up on EVERYTHING. Another thing is: WE MIGHT DIE AT THIS PARTY. You don’t know that that won’t happen. Every. Party. Is. A bomb shelter. Pack accordingly.

4. God help you if your crush is there.
I don’t know how to help you here. Smell their hair? Steal their jacket? Literally call 9-1-1 because they are too hot and your insides feel like they have combusted and now you’re sweating more and you wish you were never born? I feel like those could work.

5. Is there karaoke?
Hide under a table probably.

6. Tell a joke.
Knock Knock?
– Who’s there?

And then when everyone is on the ground and crying, just start laughing and everyone will probably lose it and start chanting your name.

7. Tell everyone about your studies in witch craft.
Like you WOULDN’T be interested in hearing about that.

8. Hand out your business cards.
At this point, people are probably like, “Wow. Who is this really cool person? I need to keep in touch.” Always keep business cards on you – they will never NOT be needed. Under profession you could probably put something funny like “butt cop,” and then when they lose their mind laughing you can be like, “You’re under arrest.” That’ll pretty much assure you a call the next day. “Can I be your friend?” “When can we hang out?” etc etc. Get ready.

9. You haven’t done any of these things and you’ve been standing alone at the snack table because you got scared.
Me too.

10. The exit.
If you brought a skateboard – awesome. There is no COOLER way to leave a party than to ollie outta that joint. If you didn’t, it’s not the BEST case scenario, but we can work with it. Now I can’t do a cartwheel – but if I could, you can bet I would shout “BYE HATERS” and cartwheel out a window.

Or I would return to the coat room, stand for an uncomfortably long time in the darkness with my eyes closed, have someone walk in on me, startle me, say “What? No, I was just saying goodbye to the coats.” And leave in a hurry. Hope this helps. See you guys at the party!