The Etiquette of Uneasy Situations
Situation: You arrive at a party and find that you don't know a single person in the room.
Solution: Head to the bar or the buffet first, since "there are bound to be other guests congregating nearby to whom you can introduce yourself," says Shannon Donnelly. Or stand near the entrance of the room so that guests pass you on their way in. Approach other people who are standing alone, who will probably be glad to see you, or introduce yourself to the host and enlist her help by saying, "I've scanned the room and don't recognize anyone right away. Is there someone you especially think I should meet?"
One more party tip: If a friend you’ve brought to a party humiliates herself, direct attention away from her by inventing a reason you need to leave, then ask her to escort you home.
Situation: You called someone by the wrong name―and it wasn't someone you just met.
Solution: If you flub someone's name a single time, it's fine to apologize and make light of the situation. "Say something about lack of sleep or that you've had a really crazy day, and move on. Don't bring it up again, even to joke about it―this will just extend the awkwardness," says Caroline Tiger. However, if you have been calling your cubicle mate the wrong name since day one, "the apology should be in earnest," says Tiger. "Validate her mortification by reacting in a big way, and do it in person: 'I can't believe I've been calling you Nancy for three weeks. I am so, so sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?'"