The holidays are coming up and with them, of course, are the various Christmas and holiday parties that one is exposed to this time of year. Some of the parties are a lot of fun if you are with friends and neighbors etc. where you can be yourself (or at least know when not to be), but some are much more tense when you don’t know the people and have to introduce yourself and make conversation that won’t leave you feeling like a pariah. So, I was thrilled to see that a href=”http://www.allure.com/magazine/issue/TOC_December”emAllure/em magazine /a had some tips for party-goers on how to make conversation as well as an entrance to a party that will get you noticed. br /br /Okay, I doubt most of my blog readers really put getting noticed at a party as their highest priority; if you do, I refer you to the a href=”http://www.allure.com/magazine/issue/TOC_December”December issue /aof ememAllure/em/em. However, the tips in emAllure/em for how to be a good conversationalist were impressive. I read them, thinking I would hear about how not to hurt other people’s feelings, pretend one knows the current events of the day, and how to be socially acceptable but I was wrong. The advice for starting a party conversation was good and on target, especially for those of us who tend towards the politically incorrect and the socially awkward. br /br /a href=”http://www.allure.com/magazine/issue/TOC_December”emAllure/em /arounds up some of their most engaging partygoers and asks them for their talking points–I will share a few of the most salient with you:br /br /strongGet Personal/strong. “Feel free to be wildly interrogative and ask profound questions, Doonan suggests (Doonan is the author of emNasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints/em). For example, ‘Where do you want to be buried?’; How’s your relationship with your mother these days?’ Fellow guests will think you are insane, but the answers are never boring.” Another party expert says that people respond more to the strange and unusual than to the same old things. “The most memorable conversations are honest, when people do not mince words. I talk to the ballbusters, the Ethel Mermans.”br /br /strongPush Some Buttons/strong. “It’s a myth that you should avoid talking about sex and politics–especially in big cities like New York and Los Angeles,” Doonan says, “If you think George Bush or the Pope is hot, say so.” Ingrid Sischy, editor in chief of emInterview, /em feels the same way: “I wouldn’t advise bringing Hitler up very much,” she says, “But when you’re having a great conversastion with someone, you hit on everything, including taboo subjects.” br /br /strongDon’t Be Afraid to Admit Ignorance/strong. “If someone brings up Hezbollah, and you’re fairly clueless about it, just admit the truth. ‘Rather than bluffing to impress, be blunt about what you don’t know,’ Doonan says. ‘Even stars heed this advice: Someone once asked Jennifer Lopez if America should invade Afghanistan, and her answer was perfect: ‘I have no idea about politics…'”br /br /Now, if only Barbara Streisand and company would follow Lopez’s lead.br /br /Finally, the last bit of advice is probably the best:br /br /strongUse the Booze./strong “There is a reason people drink at dinners and cocktail parties–it all becomes much more interesting.”br /br /Anyone have any other advice to add to the list for how you survive holiday conversations without tears or boredom?