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You know the ones we’re talking about: They circulate the room, spark conversation and always seem to be having fun, no matter whom they’re with (yes, even that guy Todd). Here, seven secrets of people who are pros at mingling at parties. We promise: It’s not that hard.

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THEY ASK HOW AND WHY QUESTIONS

It’s the trick to making sure conversation never falls flat. For example: You find out so and so just moved to Tallahassee. Instead of: “Whoa, so that’s cool,” you say, “Wow, why did you decide to make that move?” And let the answers roll in while you relax and nod your head. 

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THEY AVOID STICKY (OR POLARIZING) TOPICS

Bringing up whom you’re voting for in the 2016 presidential election is probably not the best idea at a party if you’re trying to avoid heated debate.

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THEY CARRY A BEVERAGE

Ever put your hands in pockets that didn’t exist? It’s because they need a place to go in new situations. So grab a drink and hold on to it for dear life. Whether you’re sipping rosé or Diet Coke, it’s all about having a natural place to put your hands. 

RELATED: What to Do with Your Hands in Photos

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THEY FOLLOW A “20-SECOND” RULE

Talking without taking a breather for 20-plus seconds is a conversation no-no. (Hello, the person you’re speaking to is definitely zoning out/thinking about their work email/the food.) Take a beat. Let your new acquaintance respond. It’s all about the back and forth. 

RELATED: 7 Ways to Be a Better Listener

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THEY’RE NEVER AFRAID TO POKE FUN AT THEMSELVES

So, you wore the exact same thing as the lady across the room. Mention it. Laugh about it. (It’s endearing, we promise.)

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THEY HAVE THEIR EXIT STRATEGIES ON LOCK

Bad conversations happen. It’s all about having an organic escape plan at the ready. Some options: “BRB, need another cocktail” or “OMG, is that Debbie?! Excuse me, I have to go say hello.” Or if you’re super desperate: “Oops, will be back in a minute. My bladder is about to burst.” 

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THEY PUT AWAY THEIR PHONE

True story: Studies show that just having your phone on the table can make the people around you feel less inclined to open up. Put it in your pocket--and step out of the room if you need to text or make a quick call. Maintain eye contact no matter what.

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