It's taken me nearly 30 years to admit this to myself:
I don’t like huge parties.
I don’t like talking to people I don’t know.
It’s basically Christmas season and so all the parties normally start happening - you get invited to gatherings of acquaintances or people you don’t know, huge work functions, obligatory hangs because it’s been ‘so long’ and everyone now has more free time and is looking forward to summer.
I’ve always been an introvert, but normally get guilted or FOMOed into going along and never enjoying myself. I feel like I’m not that young and I’ve only just realised I mirror the energy I get - so if I am talking to someone who’s withdrawn, I get self conscious that they’re not having fun talking to me, and I don’t know what else to say to make the conversation fun. But then I also don’t like when I encounter the loud life of the party who is all in your face and is just too intense for me.
It’s funny because for the people around me, they think I’m an extrovert. Someone actually thought *I* would be the life of the party because of how I act in a small group setting which I thought was amazing - that’s the image I give off? I was so flattered and yet thought it was so funny. I also help run Future Dragonz, where I basically organise events for strangers to mingle and I normally am there on the event too.
It’s taken me a long time to realise that it’s basically my nightmare. I don’t know why I feel this pressure to say yes to parties I didn’t want to go to, evenings which I know I will be out of my comfort zone because everyone likes to seem busy and popular and I guess I wanted a slice of that too.
I was listening to the Billie Eilish song ‘when the party’s over’ and the line ‘quiet when I’m coming home and I’m on my own/ I could lie and say I like it like that’ makes me so sad.
Because that’s how I am after these large events and gatherings with strangers. I can fake it til I make it until a certain point, have to escape and then come home and I’m drained.
After an event last year, I literally sat awake for two hours staring into nothing and feeling nothing but dread and like, disgust at what went down. I think about everything people said. I think about the offhand remarks from strangers that I didn’t like. I think about my place in the interactions and the impression I must’ve given. I’m not sure if you’ve ever felt where you’ve hated every second of spending time somewhere and wish you could turn this time that you’ve hated into a paper ball to crumple and throw away in the bin. But you can’t, it’s just absorbed in you and like how. Do. You. Get. It. Out. (forget?)
I know during the event I seemed fine. During the event I was maybe even the bubbly one.
But I guess it takes a lot of my energy to do it and when it’s a large group where people are just paying attention to the loudest people, the chats are so subpar and I can’t let my guard down, I hate every second of it.
This season I’m starting to say no.
I’m not hanging out with people I don’t like and don’t know. I’m not going to these huge parties where I don’t know anyone. I’m not going to give these strangers and acquaintances my time and to hate myself.
I feel like I’m quite a sociable introvert and great at seeming like an extrovert. I really feel for anyone who is reading this and is super introverted because I find it so hard. I get super guilty after I say no. I don’t know a good reason for saying why I don’t want to hang out that isn’t offensive. I am super self-conscious and hyper-aware the whole night. I actually feel sick with myself after large parties that I’ve hated, and I don’t know how you manage. Or maybe you’ve realised way earlier than me that faking it is still faking it when you don’t like it.
But I know I thrive on small groups, one on ones and low key gatherings. Dinner with 4 people? Yes. Coffee catch up? Oh yes. Walk?? Yessss. Dinner party with all my closest friends? YES. My dream social interaction would be a small group gathering at a different place or home with 4 people each day for like, 4 hours long. I would rather spend 4 hours each day with a different small group, than 24 people for 3 hours in one night. I just can’t.
Let me know what social interactions make you uncomfortable and whether you are a introvert or extrovert?
And as a thank you for reading until now, here’s a discount code for all my introverts or people who want a deal - use the promocode INTROVERT (valid forever) to grab 15% off a hoodie for you to hide in (or thrive in) and FREESHIP1 to get free shipping for your next party.