Parties have long inspired fear and dread for me. Even now as a full-fledged adult, social engagements that involve more than a few intimate friends or acquaintances make me very nervous. I find it hard to pry myself away from my day-to-day thoughts, responsibilities and to-dos and just have a good time hanging out and making conversation. I'm especially nervous if I anticipate that it might be hard to find common ground with the crowd I'll be socializing with. I cringe at my lack of cultural currency to bandy about in witty repartee. I also get nervous about how much money will be spent having a good time, as I am a little tightwad and can't ever let loose when it comes to spending on drink and merrymaking.
Usually, things go better than I expect, and I find I am now far better equipped to be comfortable standing or sitting alone for a few minutes between one social pairing or grouping and the next, and I even seek the refuge of being alone and browsing bookshelves or sitting on a sofa by myself for a few minutes of solace--an oasis from the pitch of laughter and amusement. Sometimes I even enjoy a gathering immensely. When I am nervous in anticipation of a social event, I try to recall my most recent social experience that went well and I call on those feelings of confidence and courage to help me. I remember that it can be fun and that the uncomfortable feelings beforehand are often the worst part of it. But I'm still always relieved when it's over and I can go home. :)
(I wish I had had my camera with me when I drove past the frat party. I would've loved to post a snapshot of those silly college kids in their blowup pool.)