06/06/2014 07:10 am ET Updated Jun 06, 2014

5 Ways Being Older Helps You Cope At Cocktail Parties

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Being older does make us wiser in certain situations. Here's how being older helps you cope at cocktail parties and social situations:

1. You aren't embarrassed to wear comfortable shoes, which means you have a better time.
If you wear comfortable shoes, it means you are able to stand longer and won't need to seek out walls to lean on. The center of the room is generally where the action is -- and it's generally a standing around or mozying on over kind of action. It isn't sitting down on a chair, especially when most of them have been pushed to the corner. And it is not leaning on a wall. That's what wallflowers do, not people who are there to socialize. Comfortable shoes means your tootsies won't be crying out in pain, and you can enjoy yourself.

Being older means not feeling like you must wear shoes that in which you can barely walk in from your cab to the front door. Your identity, sexiness, and leg length are not in any way shaped or formed by your footwear. You laugh at young girls wearing heels and privately slip them the name of someone who gives great foot massages. Why? Because they will need one in the morning.

2. You're fine being the first one to leave.
Everyone assumes you go to sleep early, so it's also just assumed that you'll be the first to leave. What few realize is that this early-to-bed rouse provides older people with a convenient cover to just get out of what is frequently a boring party.

3. You know your drinking limits.
There is nothing like experience to know that precise line between wine making the socializing more fun and wine making you sick to your stomach. You know the nuances of your body, you know what foods you need to eat to neutralize the affects of the alcohol. You also know that you don't want to embarrass yourself like that guy who gets louder by the minute. There is a big "been there/done that" element to all of this, and you know it.

4. You understand that whether you have a good time is up to you.
You know how to smile and say hello. You know how to listen and initiate a conversation. What you don't know is many people at the party. But being older, you've been in this spot a million times before. You either thrive in it or you dread these things. And if it's the latter, you have no problem staying home with a good book.

5. You've figured out that all cocktail parties have different purposes.
In some cases, you know the goal is to network -- meet as many people as possible and come away with as many business cards or social contacts to follow up with as possible. In other cases -- like your neighbor's holiday gathering -- you know it's fine to spend the evening chatting up one woman who you find interesting. It's not necessary to work the room; it's just necessary to have a good time. Without that, why are you there?



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