Getting-to-know-you games can be a useful way to break the ice no matter what the event. While you may at first think of them as being particular to singles events, they can be fun regardless of who's at your party.
Three Getting-To-Know-You Games to Play
The purpose of any good "icebreaker" game is trickery and distraction of the players themselves. The fact is most people are shy and often feel anxiety or stress when faced with a large group. Even people who seem to be the "class clowns," making big spectacles at parties are often covering their shyness by over-acting. Either way, it keeps people from being able to both be themselves and discover the "real" personalities of the people around them.
Games that help people get to know each other are usually silly, unusual, or distracting. Here are some examples.
Scream is a very simple game with very simple rules. People stand in a circle, looking down at the floor (in a group of very shy people, this should be easy). On the count of three, everyone looks up and at someone else's face. In most cases, people will be looking at someone who is looking at someone else - but if two people's eyes meet, they scream loudly at the top of their lungs (again, a surprisingly natural reaction for shy people) and they are "out" of the circle. Everyone looks at the ground again, count to three, look up, and it repeats, until only one person remains.
Why does this work? What do you really get to know about people, besides how they sound when they scream and the color of their eyes? The answer lies in common experience. Most people don't scream at each other randomly; by doing this silly action, everyone is sharing what is going on and everyone gets to see a bit of the unguarded, childlike sense of play. Once you have shown people this, telling them mundane details like your hobbies becomes much easier.
2. The Human Knot
This is another physically-based getting-to-know-you game which involves all putting their left hands in the center (similar to a football huddle). Then the group puts their right hands in and grabs someone else's left - which forms a human knot. The goal is to untangle the whole group without having to let go of any hands.
This kind of problem-solving, cooperation, and communication (it's surprising how hard it is to explain things without using gestures) takes people out of their usual routine and puts them into a common unusual experience. You quickly learn who has leadership skills, who can communicate well, and who the troublemakers are. Plus, the "safe" physical intimacy of the human knot makes for a very fun time for single people looking to connect without the pressures of dancing, etc.
3. Two Truths, One Lie
This game falls into another kind of category, a word game. In some groups, word and question games work well, but not everyone is comfortable talking in front of a group, which is why the physical ways of getting to know each other works so well. However, in this game, everyone writes down on a piece of paper two truths about themselves (the more implausible the better) and one plausible lie. They then simply read (or, if they're shy, the host reads) the three statements out to the group. The group then tries to figure out which is which.
People who manage to fool the group should get some kind of prize, but in reality, everyone wins, because they have learned at least two things they didn't know about each other. Even better, those who have believable lies have learned something about what the group believes they are capable of.