I am not a huge fan of talking and drinking at the same time. This is because the talking distracts me from the drinking. Forgive me for assuming a cocktail party is a celebration of drinking. I cannot be held responsible for this fallacy seeing as a “cocktail” by definition is a mixture of multiple drinks to create a “super drink” which can only be enjoyed once in a while. Cocktail parties are more about the drinks than they are about the people and yet we STILL find ways of ruining this great gift with endless chatter. Anyway, since conversation at these parties is unavoidable and those who try to avoid it are deemed “rude guests” it would be wise to learn a few clever tips on how to survive cocktail conversations.
I learned this trick from my brother. He taught me to look to the skies for a solution. Yes, “God is with us all” but I am talking about the weather. Is it raining? Is it a clear night where you can see the stars? Or is it a chilly night? All of these can be used well by the clever conversationalist eager to give people a few witty lines so that they ponder on them while he enjoys his drink (not that I do that). For example, if it is raining, channel your inner poet and in your most “Shakespearean” voice, say to someone, “Dreadful weather we are having tonight, just dreadful”. At this point you have their attention. They are thinking, “Who is this and what are they talking about?” Time to whip out the myths and legends with one of these; “You know according to Luo mythology, when it rains like this it is a sign that God is happy”.
It doesn’t matter if you are making things up because you’re just making photo opportunity conversation. If you are successful by this point they should be asking, “Don’t you mean sad?” and you should respond “No, on the contrary, these are tears of joy, the thunder is laughter”. If they smile or laugh then you have an audience. Introduce yourself and ask them about any of their traditional beliefs about rain. If they look confused then they are not very clever and you should say, “Looks like tonight will be a good night, nice talking to you!” and move on. Don’t waste time when your drinking opportunities are at stake. The sooner people see you interact with at least four people the faster you can get back to the bar.
The point of the interaction is to make sure everyone sees you make some friends so that you don’t look like a freeloader. In addition, if you are witty enough then your name will spread around the room i.e. “That guy was telling me something funny about rain in their tradition”. Hopefully, no “know it all” tribesman in the room will call you out on your little deception (So I suggest you NOT be Luo). It is important for a few people in the room to know and be talking about you because then you can drink in peace knowing that people don’t think you are rude.