Dear Sandra

Dear Sandra,

My husband has just started a new job and at the end of the month his company is having a staff family picnic. I am absolutely awful at crowd functions, but I don’t want to appear snobby or uninterested. If I at least knew SOMEONE, it wouldn’t be so bad! I need to be a better schmoozer, please help!!!!

Loser Schmoozer in the US

Dear Loser,

I can almost guarantee you that most people dread situations like this, especially when their husband’s reputation could be on the line.

Here’s some advice for surviving the day:

One at a Time – focus first on socializing with one person. Once you’ve found one friend you can navigate and mingle together.

Get Personal – forget small talk about the weather, people love to talk about themselves ask questions. For example, “What department are you in?” “What does your job entail?” Even in different situations, getting people to talk about what they are interested in or knowledgeable in is a great conversation starter and you might even learn something!

Scope out the Extremes – look for people who are either having a great time or a miserable time. To those wallflowers you’ll come off as a sincere person and to the talkative types you won’t have to carry the conversation.

Don’t be a Fake – don’t pretend to be something that you aren’t just to fit in. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to question it. You are not required to like each and every person you meet.

You can’t turn an introvert into an extrovert, but I hope this helps to at least make the day remotely interesting, fun and stress-free! Have a great time!



This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of