We went to Ian's department Christmas party today. We stayed longer than we ever have before :) It was held at somone's house and there were about 40 people there. I've met a few people before, but don't really know anyone, and so I find these sorts of experiences somewhat uncomfortable.
I don't really know how to mingle, and I don't know how to talk to people I don't know. I can say "hi, my name is Chantelle", but I don't know what to say after that. Sometimes I get as far as a mutually exchanged "what do you do for work/fun", but after that I end up standing there in an awkward sort of silence with one of those "I don't know what to say next" grins on my face. I want to be friendly with people, but I just have no idea what to say to strangers. I'm fine when there's someone there who can say "Chantelle curls every week; Bill, you wanted to try it, didn't you?" or something like that. But when I have to do that myself, well, I suck at it.
To be fair, the awkwardness was not all mine tonight - we were there with other bioinformatics (it's a branch of computer science) grad students, some profs, department support people, and their significant others. Many of those people, like me, are introverts, and have the same troubles I do.