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How to Deal With a Boring Party
JJ Thompson's tips include appetizer-hacking, amateur-DJ-avoiding, and pre-speech-exiting. (Or, not-in-the-first-place-going.)

Only boring people get bored, said Ruth Burke, but I dispute.

I think I’m pretty entertaining (bias, granted), but still I need to navigate my cell on a minute-to-minute basis to keep my brain from shutting down. It’s not my fault: I grew up in a generation in which everything gets dull quickly, and few things withstand any real test of time–believe me, it’s exhausting for everyone.Parties should be the apex of distracted pleasure, but can often be more like prolonged torture. I have some insight–I’ve been to a party or two, it’s kind of my job–that I’d like to pass on. I present to you my best tips for surviving the onslaught of party pitfalls and dreary between-drinks moments.After all, if you don’t make it fun, who will?

1. Avoid Bad Conversations

Elementary, maybe, but this is easily one of the most heinous errors. Don’t enter into conversation with no end or evolution; like speeding down a cul-de-sac, this will end in nothing less than tragedy. The weather, questions about your health, New Year’s resolutions–shoot me now. Best to steer talk in your direction; if someone mentions the chill outside, change topics pronto before you find yourself gleefully discussing tips for snow removal.

2. Hack The Appetizers

Dull social gatherings and appetizers that digest like concrete go hand-in-napkin. You can use your own culinary powers to improve the situation, and you don’t have to be Heston Blumenthal. Weld ingredients together from different dishes: the mini burger (yawn) with its rubbery puck of meat will become infinitely more digestible when you add the tomato from the Caprese skewer.

3. Find A Confidante

Every party has someone who sees the world as you do, i.e. correctly. Nothing makes time pass quicker than finding an ally also looking for their opportunity to escape–it’s the kind of camaraderie forged only in prison dramas. From trading gossip on flossy women to trash-talking unfortunate mens’ shoes, you two will be entertained while everyone else languishes in weather-chat.

4. Exit Before The Speech

Speeches are like these crazy tractor beams of boredom. The best kind are quick, witty, touching–and incredibly rare. The worst, most common speeches are the endless dreary monologues with no point or end in sight, sucking out your life-force through a narrow straw. If you see a mic appear in someone’s hand, quickly a) “answer” your phone; b) make an extremely alarmed face, with a touch of instant despair; c) run as though your mother’s life depends on it. It’s the new stop, drop, and roll.

5. Watch Out For Solo Dancing

Nothing signals the unstoppable downward spiral of a bad party like people dancing by themselves. No, the Robyn song does not make it sexy. Nor does the unlimited supply of booze, which seems to be funnelled directly into that one person’s throat. Watching, you begin to feel a Jersey Shore moment coming on: only bad things can happen now and you don’t want to be here when they do. Excuse yourself to the washroom and climb out the window.

6. Renegade Music Providers

I shudder at hearing the “word” DJ, let alone having to use it; it’s like I’m in a 80s college movie and can’t get out. There’s really nothing worse, party-wise, than an amateur HypeMachine addict “taking over” the iPod dock and playing their wildest Skrillex fantasies for a gala of tuxed-out 40-somethings. If there is someone on the decks who isn’t being paid a significant amount of money to be there, scout out the location furthest from the speakers and stay there All. Night. Long.

JJ Thompson regularly writes about ways to make your life better for Toronto Standard. He tweets at @jjtho.

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