Hello my name is Amy, and I don’t like parties.
There, I’ve said it. It’s out in the open.
Now, before we get into the nitty gritty, it’s not that I dislike fun - far from it. And it’s not that I don’t like spending time with friends, either. It’s just that the typical party set-up isn’t my preferred form of socialising. I'm more for the relaxed, the small and the intimate kind of gathering.
For all those party people scoffing in dismay, recoiling in horror or experiencing intense levels of confusion - get this. I’m not alone.
A quick scour of Whisper (the social networking app that lets users confess secrets, safely hidden behind a shroud of anonymity) tells me that a fair few other people share my stance:
So what is it about parties that’s turning people off? For me, it’s several things.
They can be terribly long and boring - 7pm ‘til 2am you say? That’s almost the equivalent of an entire working day, where my activities would have normally been broken up by tea breaks, lunch and procrastinating-sweeps of animal-themed Instagram feeds.
Unless it's your wedding my friend, I just can't commit to those kinds of hours.
Then there’s the expectation. When you get invited to a party, it’s basically somebody asking you to arrive promptly at a time and place which suits them, often in accordance with a dress code, and to start having fun on-the-double.
We haven’t even got to the minefield that is shouty small-talk, the burden of fancy dress, or the drain of having to summon all your best networking skills in what is supposed to be your leisure time, and I feel I’ve already made my point.
Yes, okay, I’m an introvert - you've got me. But this party problem transcends that. For some people, introverted or not, the party set-up just falls flat.
But as we all know, come wedding season, Christmas or when your friends and friends-of-friends start celebrating milestone birthdays in clusters, the odd party appearance is mandatory.
So, for all those experiencing strong feelings of solidarity right now, here it is. The holy grail of party survival guides.
Arm yourself with this five-point plan (tried and tested by, er, just me) and you'll breeze through the bash like a person who's actually enjoying themselves. And who knows, maybe you even really will...
The five-point party survival guide
1. Get in the zone
As with all things in life, it’s better to be prepared for what’s ahead. If you arrive at a party already wishing you were anywhere else, it’s going to be a long night for everyone. Do whatever it is that gets your happy energy flowing before heading out (even if it’s sipping a cup of tea in your PJs), and have a time frame for your departure in mind.
2. Identify things you do like
You’ve likely got a good idea, or lengthy bullet point list, of what you don’t like about parties. Now it’s time to flip reverse it, and try to identify at least three things you will enjoy. Do you like the getting ready process? Is a friend you’ve not seen for a while also attending? Will there be tequila? Focus on the positives - though go steady if they’re all alcohol-related.
3. Find a buddy
Pairing up with somebody who also dislikes parties might sound like the logical thing to do, but it can be counterproductive. When you start flagging, you need somebody with a positive energy who’ll help to pep you up. Somebody who’s understanding of your predicament, but doesn’t necessarily share your sentiments, is ideal. Mingle with them if you can, but be careful not to kill their joy - see point four.
4. Take breaks
If you find the party scene exhausting, or keeping up small-talk a draining exercise, don’t be afraid to take a few breaks. Excuse yourself and nip to the bathroom (who’s to know there wasn’t really a queue in there?), or take a little walk and get some fresh air. It’ll help to break up the evening and preserve your mental energy. You’ll also give your party buddy a chance to mingle without you, and avoid monopolising their night.
5. Be choosy
If the party scene just isn’t for you, be picky about the ones you attend. You’re far more likely to have a good time if there are plenty of people you know, it's a celebration you're genuinely thrilled about too, or if the host is a close friend. If skipping a bash isn’t going to offend anyone, use your right to RSVP ‘thanks, but no thanks’ from time to time.