Kids can be a great crutch for the socially-awkward, especially at parties.
When they're babes they're magnets, the center of attention, drawing a crowd without any effort on your part. You just sit with the baby in your lap and occasionally confirm for the curious that, yes, you aren't getting much sleep and, yes, she sure is cute. Once you tire of company you can take the baby in for a diaper change or spend a little time rocking her upstairs, shushing away any wandering partiers with a stern and firm "she needs to rest!" Instead of dismissing you as the cold fish you are, they'll say you're such a great father, taking care of the baby while mom enjoys the party.
Once your kid starts walking, you can no longer just sit there. You have to get up and follow her around. This requires a little more effort on your part, but with practice you will become adept at maneuvering the little one into out-of-the-way sanctuaries of peace and quiet free of intrusive interrupters. If your toddler is up to the task, take her for a walk around the block. If all else fails, play the diaper change gambit. Even if she's potty-trained. They won't know. Instead of dismissing you as the cold fish you are, they'll say you're such a great father, taking care of the toddler while mom enjoys the party.
Savor this happy situation while you can for soon the day will come when, upon arrival at a party, your youngest will run off to join the other kids, leaving you to face your fellow party guests alone, without the protection of your security blanket.
I recently found myself in this sad situation, a social cripple deprived of his crutch at a large Superbowl party swarming with strangers. After years of using my kids as human shields, my guest avoidance skills had atrophied. My aimless-walk-that-appears-purposeful maneuver failed. I'd forgotten to vary my route and my pace, making it painfully obvious that I was just walking in circles to avoid human contact. I adjusted on the fly, adopting an I'm-looking-for-someone-where-is-she expression, but the pity and disdain on their faces revealed that they'd already seen through my act. I fell back on Plan B, the serial group glom, but the huddled circles of party goers tightened their perimeters upon my approach, effectively preventing me from penetrating their defenses with my patented silent-but-knowing-while-signaling-that-I-care nod. By this point I was resigned to Plan C -- planting myself in the middle of the crowd in front of the bar for the rest of the party -- but our party hosts had thoughtfully provided two bars, clearing the crowd and with it my chance of spending the afternoon unnoticed.
With no other plans left up my sleeve, it had to be Plan D then: watch the game. It was a Superbowl party after all. But by then the game had already started, every seat was taken, even the standing room was occupied, so I stood alone outside, watching the game and the party through the sliding glass doors, shivering in the cold ocean breeze while thinking what a fitting scene this was, a rare melding of the figurative and the literal, as I saw my reflection in the glass, a shadow of a man on the outside looking in.