Whether you’re the life of the party, or live a couch commando lifestyle, there’s no social circumstance worse than attending an event where you don’t know a soul. Here are 6 tips for the party phobic to help keep you comfortable.

1. Get a game plan

Anna Wintour, the iconic Vogue editor, only spends about 15 minutes making appearances at events she’s been invited to. Make a mental deal with yourself on how long you plan to stay, so when the time comes you’ll be proud of seeing that commitment through.

2. Don’t be a stranger

Take advantage of social media sites such as Facebook to get familiar with fellow attendees. Depending on your e-network, you may gain enough info about party guests to start great conversations. Just be careful to not tip your hand unless you want to become known as the friendly neighborhood social stalker.

3. Alcohol is not  your friend

Pre-gaming is never a good idea when entering into unfamiliar social territory. Instead, if you are at an event where alcohol is being served, consider having a white wine spritzer, which will help dilute the alcohol content but still enable you to get your groove on.

4. Reach out and text someone

If you do know some of the party attendees, but not very well, send them text messages in advance expressing your excitement to catch up at the party. Having a list of people you intend to mingle with will help you keep a tempo throughout the soiree without you having to hover around the cheese platter hoping to strike up a conversation.

5. Practice makes perfect

Watch a few interview-based TV programs such Piers Morgan Tonight or Inside the Actor’s Studio prior to your social function. These hosts are true pros at putting guests at ease and asking informative questions without making them feel like they’re being interrogated.

6. Take the plunge

If all else fails, walk up to someone you don’t know, put out your hand, and introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m _________.  How do you know the host?” And let the conversation flow from there.