Thoughts On Being The Quietest Person At The Party

*being weird with my dress at a party in 2010
I once took a personality test which told you which sort of soda you would be if you were a beverage at a party and I was labeled as Sprite. The test (as I roughly remembered) described Sprite as, "understated, Sprites are usually overlooked but missed if they are absent." It probably says more about how I see myself than how accurate the test was that I still remember these results. But the fact remains: while I frequently post images of myself online and type up lengthy essays in person I'm quiet, prone to awkward silences, ground gazing, and embarrassing blushes. This is not to say I am a non-functioning social being because despite this shyness and tendency to either say too little or say something so random it hinders conversation I have friends, I go out sometimes, and even attend those holiday parties that I both dread and enjoy. In fact, in a strange twist a fate I'm often a chosen "wing-woman" for friends attending parties when they want a plus one. I've even at moments become comfortable enough with the people to be one of the louder people at the party and the first to start dancing and drag friend out to join me.

As an introvert one of the most important thing to realize is the immense gap between how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. Most introverts are incredibly introspective; we analyze situations and ourselves and are usually over-aware of our shortcomings. When I start to blush I can feel the heat rising in my body before my cheeks pink all while my mind is mentally screaming over the stupidity of what I just said or my inability to respond to something quipped at me. However, the other person in the room probably can't notice my rising color in the dim light and they probably don't think my statement was the most idiotic thing they ever heard or noticed any momentary lapse in conversation. Sometimes when you remember that not everyone is mentally critiquing your every move you start to loosen up--you crack jokes and make strangers laugh, you move on past innocent blunders and at the end of the night people don't remember you as the quietest girl in the room but rather some other random observation that stood out to them.

It's also important to remember that while we live in a society that praises extroversion and every movie or song seems to focus on being the "life of the party" to have fun, introversion is not a bad word and if you find it more fun to quietly play guitar in the corner at a party, or get into deep conversations with one or two people instead of circulating is perfectly ok. Half of the time we miss out on enjoying ourselves because if the gap between what we think we should be doing and what we actually enjoy. My favorite parts of a party is the preparation beforehand and the download after. I love the ritual of selecting my clothes, putting them on and touching up my makeup, and doing the same for my house--cleaning up a bit or adding small decorative touches before people arrive. Then once the evening is over, sitting around with your fellow hosts or driving home with your friend you share moments you found funny, laugh and complain about how you got food on your dress, and generally relive the best moments of the night. It's not the gone-wild-incriminating-pictures-on-facebook-my-house-is-trashed view of parties you might get from popular cultures, but I'm having fun. Since I've always been invited again and never have trouble getting people to come to my parties, it's safe to say I'm not the only one having fun.

So, even if you're the quiet one at the party, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go out, or that your company is less valuable than anyone else's. If you want to go out this holiday season to events ranging from Friendsgiving to work parties to random gift exchanges and NYE (despite any social anxiety misgivings): go out. Aside from everything else--you're allowed to leave as early if you want. 


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