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воскресенье, 21 августа 2016 г.

Beat your Christmas meeting disorder!

From fending off unwanted attention to seeing off the party bore, here’s how to survive any social situation this season

Come on, be honest - you've got the dress and the party hair, but are you really excited about the stream of Christmas dos, or are you secretly dreading it? The party season can be a social minefield - recent research revealed that only four in 10 of us are looking forward to our own office party*! If you know you're likely to end up bored to tears or putting your foot in it big-time, fear not. We've identified the four people you dread meeting the most, and devised coping strategies so cunning, you'll make Paris Hilton look socially inept...
MINEFIELD 1: LECHEROUS LIAM
The party minger is heading your way with the mistletoe and you're desperate to avoid being slobbered on...
Liam: Pucker up, Princess - Santa needs some sugar. Fnar fnar.
You: [coughing] Oh sorry, Liam, I've recently had swine flu - and I've read in a newspaper that it can be fatal...
Liam: Jeez [turning away]. Harriet! Give us a kiss, darling...
How it works: You could leg it, but it's unlikely you'll manage to avoid this kind of guy all evening, so look for a clever way to avoid swapping saliva. Resist the temptation to burst his bubble with a bitchy put-down. "There's no need to be rude," says body language expert Elizabeth Kuhnke. "Get the message across by taking a step back, turning slightly and breaking eye contact."
MINEFIELD 2: EMMA THE SCARY EX
You've dreaded meeting his 'perfect' ex - who everyone still talks about - and here she is looking totally fab...
Emma: Oh, hi [looking you up and down]. Interesting dress. Topshop, right?
You: Yeah, thanks. It's by Kate Moss. Luke bought it for me. He got the size right and everything. You're looking very well - lovely tan. Have you been away somewhere?
Emma: It's fake.
You: Well, it looks really natural. You must tell me which salon you use. And I heard you've had good news - your sister had a baby, right? What did she have?
Emma: [Finally softening] That's sweet of you to ask. A girl - Sophie. She's just adorable. Let me show you a picture...
How it works: If someone intimidates you, the trick is to nice them out. Choose your subject carefully and it's easier than you think. Clinical psychologist Ros Taylor advises: "Kick off a conversation by asking questions about the person's family, occupation, recreation and education (remember: FORE). These safe topics will allow you to talk to anyone."
MINEFIELD 3: TEDIOUS TINA
She's banging on about herself and driving everyone mad. How do you shut her up without being rude?
Tina: So I've been on this amazing sprout diet. I lost 2lb the first week, 3lb the next. Mind you, I haven't half been windy. Hooey! But these cheese straws are totally off limits [chowing down]. Although they'd have been OK when I was on the Pastry Plan last month [sigh]. I feel so enormous compared to the women you see on TV...
You: Not everyone on telly is slim like Cheryl Cole. What about Gavin & Stacey? That's a size-zero-free zone! You're a big fan, Raj -what do you think of the new series?"
How it works: "To cut in on someone who's taking over the conversation, wait until they take a breath, add a comment of your own, then turn to someone else and ask: 'What do you think?'" advises social anthropologist and flirt coach Jean Smith. "It changes the dynamic and moves the group's energy away from the queen bee."
MINEFIELD 4: SIMON THE STRANGER
He looks nice, but you don't know him from Adam - how can you break the ice and get talking?
You: Ooh, what are those dodgy-looking canapés?
Simon: I think they're mini toad-in-the-holes.
You: Have you tried them yet?
Simon: Actually, they're delicious. Tuck in.
You: You're right, these are amazing. You've got great taste.
How it works: "We automatically like people who like us, so a compliment will make someone warm to you," says Jean Smith. She recommends this three-pronged formula: "First, make sure you're giving off approachable body language - uncrossing your arms, making eye contact and smiling. Then ask a situational question. Lastly, show you like them."
PARTY DOS and DON'TS
1. DO make sure you get names right. "People love to hear their own name, so learn theirs and use it," says Elizabeth Kuhnke. "But if you forget, don't panic. Just say: 'I'm sorry - remind me of your name again.'"
2. DON'T be cliquey. "You can get a lot out of a 10-minute conversation with someone from another department at work, or an elderly neighbour," says Jean. "Studies show that spending time with someone makes them like us, which can't be a bad thing!"
3. DO steer clear of drinking shots. "This is not the occasion for downing tequila slammers or flaming sambucas," says Jean Smith. "Nobody will be impressed and what's more, your head and pride will hurt the next day when you hear what you've been up to!"
4. DON'T kiss people you've only just met. "It's a bit too much to kiss someone at a first introduction," says Elizabeth. "An open-palmed wave with a 'hi' will do if they're a similar age to you. If they're older than you, they'll probably want to shake hands, so be prepared."

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