Attending a party where you don’t know most of the people can be intimidating, but it’s easy to turn it into an opportunity. Who knows! You might end up making a new friend, meeting the perfect business contact, or serendipitously encountering a romantic possibility. Here are the keys on how to attend a party solo.

There is nothing more attractive and admirable than an independent person. You know the type, the ones who can be perfectly happy treating themselves to a gourmet meal at a busy restaurant without feeling at all self-conscious. And they usually end up making a few acquaintances wherever they go.

Hobnob says, having the wherewithal to head to a party by yourself can lead to a most interesting night. If you go with that attitude, you will probably have one! The key word in that sentence, is “interesting”, which means don’t build it up, but arrive with low expectations and an open mind. Here are some tips to help you along.

[1] Start by scanning the room

As you enter the party scene, do a reconnaissance, focusing on potential people you think you could relate to. Go with your gut, and encounter them right off the bat. It’s usually easiest to strike up a conversation with another solo attendee. Start by commenting on something: a cool piece of jewelry the person is wearing, something about the food or space—or simply introduce yourself. Don’t make it complicated, just be friendly.

[2] Show vulnerability

In conversation, where appropriate, you might want to reveal something interesting about yourself—say, your extravagant hobby, your pet hedgehog, a weakness for ice cream. In doing so, you may spark something that causes the other person to get into a true confession moment of their own. You’ve jus bonded! Just remember to keep it light and fun.

[3] Be a good listener

In the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of the main points for success is listening. Everyone loves to be heard! And you can do your best in engaging another by truly hearing what they have to say. Pick up on those things that define the other person, remembering to focus in on something you can both relate to.

[4] Give it time

Perfect chemistry does not happen in an instant. Promise yourself you will not leave the gathering until you talk to at least two people. After one cocktail, you may feel more relaxed and inclined to stay.

[5] Backup plan

Start off by letting the host know that you have another engagement to attend and can only stay for a short time.  That way, if you don’t feel a fit with the crowd, you can politely slip away. Alternatively, the host will feel flattered that you stayed longer than promised. Win win!