So you’ve been invited, and you want to go, but your mind is churning with horrific possibilities. The longer you think about it, the more disastrous it gets. We’re talking “naked in public nightmare” tier. And it’s mostly made up.
So, here’s a little cheat sheet for what’s actually going to happen.
#1. Arrive and immediately realize it’s more crowded than you wanted it to be
It always seems that the moment you walk into a party, you inevitably come face-to-face with people you’ve never met before in your life. To some, this would be an exciting and invigorating prospect. For socially anxious people, however, it is utterly dread-inducing, and seems like a form of punishment. New people can be scary AF.
#2. Immediately grab a drink—holding and sipping a drink will give your hands purpose
Sure, everybody drinks at parties. But most people drink to relax and have fun. You, however, drink in an attempt to loosen your tongue and speak however it is normal people speak. Plus, holding a drink gives you something to do with your hands. Thanks, alcohol!
#3. Attempt to insert yourself into a conversation
Welp, time to dive in head-first. You begin a conversation with the least intimidating cluster of people you can find. Chances are that they’re people you know, so you can thankfully skip over introductions. Everything is going fine, and you’re starting to relax a little bit … until this group disperses to mingle with other people. Um, guys? Guys, where are you going??
#4. Awkwardly feign interest in objects in the room
This is the point where you start to inspect the apartment or home of the host. Pretending that you’re deeply interested in their book collection, or examining their collection of succulents. Anything to pretend like you know what you’re doing and aren’t uncomfortable at all, hahaha!
#5. Check your phone obsessively
We are all guilty of this. We think that perhaps if we look at our phone, some sort of lifeline will magically appear and call us to another location, or we will at least look popular and interesting.
But, more often than not, you just end up staring at your wallpaper and watching the minutes tick by.
#6. Desperately wish there was a movie playing or something
Then at least you could watch something and not be judged for being quiet. Plus, you’d have a conversation topic that revolves around something that isn’t the weather or awkward small-talk. Why can’t we all just sit and watch movies together all the time??
#7. Eat food!
Finger food is your Godsend at parties. It gives you something to do with both your hands and your mouth (get your mind outta the gutter, people). Plus, food is awesome, and tends to put people in a good mood.
#8. Weirdly listen in on other peoples’ conversations
Once you’ve found a comfortable seat, there’s no end to the amount of people-watching that can be accomplished. The only problem is that it looks really weird, so there’s only long you can try this trick at social gatherings.
#9. Finally discover that it works best if you stand in a small group and just listen, but don’t talk
At the risk of looking too much like a voyeur, you’ve stood up and joined in a conversation. However, instead of talking, you’ve decided to simply laugh and react to other peoples’ stories at the appropriate moments. This is what they call an “A for effort” move.
#10. Feel that a huge weight is lifted as soon as you gather up your things to go home
It really is fun hanging out with your friends — but you’d much rather have a few people over to your place for pizza than hang out in one huge group. This means that leaving a crowded party is often the high point of the evening for you.
Although, honestly? You know that if the most anxiety-inducing thing in your life is going to a party, then you’re doing alright.
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