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The Introvert’s Guide to Partying

March 7, 2017

Somebody in this picture isn’t having fun. (image via wikimedia)

Partying does not come naturally to a lot of introverts.  Getting wild and crazy in public seems easy for an extrovert, but staying in a loud, crowded environment for a long period of time can be a burden to an introvert.  I should know.  I’m an introvert, and I despise parties and social gatherings.

Since I don’t want to become a recluse, I’ve had to develop a game plan for parties.  It’s taken time, but I can now manage going to parties without getting bored or stressed out. Keep in mind that I began developing these strategies decades ago. Things have changed since then, especially technology.

When I started going to social gatherings, it was considered weird or rude to read a book, magazine, newspaper or anything while you were at a party.  If you stood alone, you were a wallflower.  Now if you stand alone, you can still seem normal as long as you’re staring at your phone.  It doesn’t matter what you’re staring at on our phone, as long as it’s on a phone or tablet.

If I’d had a cell phone when I was younger, I would have gone to a lot more parties. But when staring at your phone isn’t an option, here are a few tips to get you through it.

 Don’t stay for long.

As an introvert, I don’t have much social energy.  I’m good for anywhere between 5-30 minutes, and then I feel an overwhelming need to recoup.  It’s better to leave early than stand around.  Whenever I’ve stood around (Donald Trump would have thought I was low energy), people would keep asking if I was having a good time.  That’s a lot of pressure for an introvert.

Most people don’t understand that staring blankly is a good time for some introverts.  I love to stare blankly for hours at a time.  The problem with staring blankly in public is that other people think you’re weird or they’re worried you’re not having a good time.

Bring food and a vague excuse.

It might seem rude to leave after (or before) 30 minutes, but you’re doing everybody a favor.  You don’t want the host to think you’re bored.  All you need is a vague excuse and an expensive snack/drink.  If you’ve brought a food/drink item that everybody appreciates, you can leave whenever you want.

Just make sure that your excuse for leaving is not specific enough to be verifiable.  An easy excuse is that a bunch of stuff has come up unexpectedly.  If anybody asks for details, just say the details are boring.

Drive yourself.

I don’t mean that you should be a designated driver.   I mean, drive yourself to the party so that you can leave whenever you want.  If you let an extrovert drive you to a party, you’re stuck.  If you drive an extrovert to a party, however, make sure that extrovert has another way to get home, especially if that extrovert is a drunk.

Make yourself useful.

We introverts quickly lose interest in being social for the sake of being social, so having a purpose at a social gathering can help.  Be the keg master (if parties have kegs anymore).  When the host runs out of pizza, offer to go pick it up (that saves the host a delivery fee and tip).  You don’t have to clean up the vomit or fix the toilet clog, but there’s usually something that needs to get done at a party, and the introvert is often the right person for the job.

Hang out in the quietest location.

Some introverts have quiet voices, and that makes talking extra work.  I hate repeating myself at parties.  It wipes out my social energy, and nothing I say comes out right the second or third time I say it.  My witticisms can only be delivered properly on the first try or they fail to evoke the proper response, so I despise loud environments.  If you’re like me, stand outside the loud party or in the quietest location and try your conversations there.

Act drunk.

Introverts tend to go unnoticed, but acting drunk can get you a lot of attention.  You don’t need to sexually harass the gender of your choice or pick fights or throw up.  Just stagger around, slur your words, and wave a drink around.

If you’re bored at a party, acting drunk is kind of fun, as long as there are no consequences.  People who usually ignore you will talk about you, and you’d be surprised how differently people treat you when they think you’re drunk.  Just don’t do this if acting drunk gets you fired.

If none of these tips work for you, stare at your phone.  But put your back against the wall.  You don’t want to get conked on the head while staring at your phone.  That can happen to you anywhere, even at a party.


What do you think?  What advice (besides “Don’t go”) do you have for introverts at a party?

From → Dysfunctileaks

  1. One of my favorite things to do is to listen (eavesdrop) in on a conversation and then make up some useless fact and interject it. I guess that is why I have a worthless advice blog.

    • Eavesdropping is great advice, but I never learned to insert myself into conversations effectively.

      I had an extrovert friend who could talk to anybody anytime anywhere and make it look easy. It never rubbed off on me though.

  2. Does “not being invited due to lack of friends” count as advice? lol
    I think the last party I’ve been to was in high school…fast forward seven years later, and I’m the definition of a recluse because my anxiety’s THAT BAD. Ugh, it’s terrible!

    • I’m not sure we’re missing all that much. I spend (spent) a lot of time counting minutes until it is (was) socially acceptable to leave.

      As far as anxiety goes, maybe a couple of the above tips can help… except for acting drunk.

  3. I try to explain to people I’m really an introvert. But they never buy it. They say I am too outgoing. That’s all an act and required 3 hours of peace to every one hour of exertion I must expend. LOL. So that’s my advice, stock up on peace before hand and clear the schedule after so you can stay in bed with a good book or a netflix binge or both. I don’t judge.

    • That’s true. If you show any signs of being outgoing, a lot of people won’t believe you’re an introvert (except other introverts) or understand it.

    • Shelly permalink

      Thanks for pointing that out, about needing hours of peace to prepare for and/or recharge from social exertion. I gave myself today to rest, and thank God I did. Yesterday my coffee engagement in a busy city got longer and longer. I tried to leave twice at natural concluding moments but my new extrovert acquaintance kept insisting on showing me new places. Extroverts don’t realise what it’s like, so it’s nice to see people here speaking my language. Thanks for the post and to all the commenters.

  4. I used to be quite shy. I was in my second year of college when I realized this was almost over so I decided to start getting involved with student trips and activities. It really helps.

  5. A pool hall is a good place for an introvert. There is always something to do, (play pool). Much better than staring at a phone. You can play by yourself and nothing about it looks weird. You can invite someone to play with you without too much anxiety.

    • Ooh, great idea! Wonder how many of those are around that aren’t loud, smelly beer joints (knew too many of those growing up–not fun). At least most places don’t allow smoking anymore–my nose would die.

  6. I have the tendency to be perky and outgoing, but it takes a lot out of me (yay, I found people who understand). I can start a conversation with complete strangers in a checkout line–okay, more like silly quips while we’re waiting for service–but heaven forbid it leads to more, because I never figured out how to exit a conversation and not look like an idiot or make the other person probably feel awkward. That’s why people have trouble believing I’m an introvert, because I don’t stop talking. It’s a bad habit holdover from my first job, where I learned to start impromptu conversations to ease tensions, but I’d love to get out of that habit.

  7. I can totally relate. Gifts and food is what I take to avoid being rude. And, if I have several invitations (I’m not that popular – rarely happens), I’ve only recently discovered that I don’t have to fit everything into one day. I’ll go to one party – and visit the other person on another day with a gift. That’s how I deal with being respectful to people who invite us… and maintaining my sanity.

    • “I’ll go to one party – and visit the other person on another day with a gift.”-

      I like that idea. It can be taken one step further too! Even if we introverts get invited to only one party, we can still visit that one person with a gift the next day, and therefore avoid every party.

      • yeah sounds good in theory – but what reason would we give? for not going on the day? avoidance to that degree would bring on a little anxiety for me – arghhhh people!! why to i love and hate them so much ?!?!!

  8. A great book that validates introverts – at least it did for me: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking (by Susan Cain).

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