The life and soul of the party (How we behave at social events)

Tara Moore/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

How do your friends behave at social events? Is one of them the life and soul of the party, chatting, laughing and dancing with everyone? Or perhaps you know a party pooper, someone who spoils other people’s enjoyment by refusing to join in and have fun. This week we’re looking at language that relates to spending time with other people socially.

Starting with a useful adjective, someone who is sociable likes to meet and spend time with other people.

Oliver’s very sociable – he loves parties.

I’m going to make an effort to be a bit more sociable.

Someone who is extremely sociable, going to as many parties as possible, may be called informally a party animal: He used to be a real party animal before he had kids.

Someone who is confident in social situations and enjoys them may be called an extrovert: People who work in sales tend to be extroverts. An extrovert often has a wide circle of friends (= a lot of friends) and tends to be good company (=enjoyable to spend time with): Emma’s really fun to hang out with. She’s such good company.

A number of adjectives are used for people who are extroverts. They may be described as outgoing, meaning that they are friendly and like being with other people. An adjective with a similar meaning is gregarious:

Both girls are quite outgoing.

Sam is certainly more gregarious than his brother.

If a person is affable, they are friendly and easy to talk to: He’s very pleasant and affable.

Someone who is chatty likes to talk a lot in a friendly, informal way: Jamie was his usual chatty self.

There are verbs in this area too. If you socialize, you spend your free time enjoying yourself with other people: He needs to socialize a bit less and study a bit more.

To mix is to spend time with people at social events and talk to them: I feel I should be mixing more with my colleagues.

If you mingle at a social event, you talk to several people,  one after another, by moving around a room: She seemed to be mingling with the other guests.

Of course, parties and social events are not for everyone. Shy people can find gatherings difficult. They may be introverted, (=shy and preferring to spend time alone):  At school, she was quiet and introverted.

They may feel slightly embarrassed or nervous speaking to people they don’t know. An adjective for this is awkward:

I chatted to him briefly – he seemed a little awkward.

She’s socially quite awkward.

They may be rather reserved, not giving opinions or showing their feelings: I found her slightly reserved.

Activities such as dancing make some people uncomfortable because they worry about what other people think of them. The word self-conscious describes this feeling: I’m far too self-conscious to dance in front of my colleagues.

Do you recognize any of your friends in these descriptions?

37 thoughts on “The life and soul of the party (How we behave at social events)

  1. SANDRA CRISTINA DE OLIVEIRA

    Dear Kate,
    I really appreciated this useful words and expressions.
    I consider myself as a chatty and gregarious person and I will certainly use them.
    Thank you so much
    Warm regards,
    Sandra

  2. The words are so useful. Thank you. 🙂

    Could I say, “Shy people are reserved about giving comments on anything?”
    Or reserved is just reserved in all aspects, so adding ‘about’ is awkward??

    1. Kate Woodford

      Hi Prudent! A good question! ‘Reserved’ without ‘about’ is more typical, I think, though I would certainly know what you meant with your sentence.

  3. Hello Kate,

    I have been studying English for one year. I´m so awkward especially when I try to speak in your language. I would like to improve my fluency and get self-confident

    Thanks for your help. I may use those words in my next classes

  4. Mahiyazh

    I found these words to be really useful. Thank you so much for this kind of stuff. Keep uploading these kinds of articles at a stretch.

  5. Weituy Babouth

    Kate Woodford

    Thanks for beneficial words that you selected.
    We extol your continues contribution in making our English language improved.

  6. Rana Mudassar

    I am new here on this website and it is first blog that i read. It is written in an interesting way. I am very happy that i came to know about this website. Now i am passionate to read more blogs of Kate.

  7. Silmara Nunes

    Your text is amazing!!!!I loved it and learned a lot each word, its meanings and the usage of them.
    The way that you used to describe was so perfect and easy to understand!!!!

  8. Wow! Just wanna be gregarious and I’m looking forward to being party animal after going through your awesome blog post I found myself the life and soul of the party . Anyway, I really appreciate your generosity. Please keep the great work up.

  9. MD MUSTAFA

    It’s my first time, reading About Words. I found it very useful.since this blog is based upon how we behave at social events, I consider myself as the member of party animal. kudos to blogger.

  10. Christine Mourice

    I have a suggestion, why don’t you record this blog. In other words, can anyone read the blog or hearing it as audio? I prefer sometimes to hear someone reading to improve my listening beside my reading.

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