Only your mom shoots in auto...But you should too.
It's OK to relax and kick it into auto. Use Auto mode to focus on your perspective.
Put aside the stigma of shooting in auto. Just because you're shooting in auto doesn't mean you're being lazy or can't photograph at all. I know plenty of instances where shooting in auto is advantageous. Your environment dictates your photography which is why the auto setting in your camera is a great learning tool for any starting photographer.
The technical aspect of photography is only handy if you know what you're photographing.
Being one with your environment is fundamental, as a photographer one has to walk this fine line of joining the experience while stepping back and composing images that capture it. This is what separates a photographer from a great one. The technical aspect of photography is only handy if you know what you're photographing. Understanding and experiencing the moment is key to knowing what to photograph.
The goal of a photographer is capture setting, mood, and subject. To grain an understanding of these elements photographers can't narrow their focus on their gear and the types of shots they like to take. Specially starting off this can limit the effectiveness of the storytelling. If a photographer detaches themselves from the experience, their visual story will show it. As a staring photographer this is difficult, because the confidence is still not there to enjoy the party and do your job. The secret is that the more you enjoy the party the better your pictures will be.
the technical aspect of photography can kick any photographer out of the experience.
Photography is about anticipating a moment and grabbing its light. The first part of this action might be the most important. This prediction can only be formulated if a photographer is submerged in the experience. Not all photography takes place at a party or event, however all photography requires you to be in the moment. This is an important thing to keep in mind because the technical aspect of photography can kick any photographer out of the experience.
The worst thing you can do is get there and miss your opportunity to take the shot. I remember early on going out on hikes and even shoots at times and finding myself at the end of the day in Auto mode. This became interesting after a while, and realized this is a great way to cut all distractions and focus on staying engaged in order to anticipate the right moment.
So go ahead and use that auto function on your camera, learn to be in the moment and work your biological lens. This exercise can improve your storytelling abilities, your composition, and your overall work flow. The goal here is to be able to examine your environment, formulate a plan then pick up the camera and press the button. If there is no plan before the camera appears, then It might be too late.
Things to keep in mind:
What is the story?
Who or what is the subject?
What is this subject communicating?
Where should the focus be?
Where are things moving?
Where can I place myself so I'm waiting for the shot.