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. 


Marine said...

I like hosting parties because you always have an excuse to step away from conversations if you need to...
I really like what you said about people not being as critical of you as you are of yourself... I often feel as though people are paying attention my every move and word and then I realize that they aren't perceptive to those things like I am. I never thought of that as an introverted quality until today... always thought it was a self-centered quality but now I know it's not!
It's tough being an introvert in an extroverted world, but we get by!

Abby said...

I really love these posts; I can relate to you so much. It's reassuring to know that someone else feels almost the same exact way as I do in social situations-- my introversion is one of the more defining parts of me. I'm in my freshman year of college right now and I'm still trying to figure out the whole making-friends thing. Not to mention exploring the party scene, which I've only done once just to satiate my curiosity.

Anyway, reading this post really made me want to be friends with you because you seem so neat. I always look forward to your musings!

MarieBayArea said...

Love this! Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm so happy that you wrote about this... I've always been a bit shy and quiet and over-analyzed every single thing people have said to me and what I've said to them. And of course the facial expressions, etc. It's sometimes really hard to get past this, and it feels good to know that I'm not the only one with this "problem" of being introverted and feeling like an outcast when everyone around me are extroverts... And that, actually, it's not even a problem - it's just who I am. I found this amazing Emma Stone quote the other day: "What sets you apart may seem like a burden, but it's not, and most of the time it's what makes you great." So true!

Thank you for this post!

Hailey said...

I totally understand how you feel. I used to be the quietest person at a party, and people used to think I wasn't having fun. But I've loosened up a little over the past few years and noticed that sometimes other people are quieter than me... There always has to be at least one quiet person, right? ;) Otherwise something would be missing.

I saw this comic a while ago because a friend of mine shared it online, and I thought it described what introverts are like really well:

Hailey from http://squidsquads.blogspot.com

St├ęphanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
St├ęphanie said...

I think this is partly why I felt so exhausted at my wedding. I'm also an introvert who loves social gatherings but needs a decent amount of alone time to recharge. As the bride, I felt the need to talk with everyone even though all I wanted was to sit and chat with my friends and newly-married husband. It's not that I didn't want to see everyone; it's just that I can only handle so much at once. Thanks, Rebecca, for the reassurance that this is perfectly okay.

Emily Baker said...

i'm an extrovert with introvert tendancies. i love being by myself, but i also love people. anyways! you should take a look at this - http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352153

Sienna Rose said...


This post tells me how similar you and I are in a lot of ways.
I'm mostly the quietest person in a crowd and quite often, I also find a bit of awkward moments with people around, but it doesn't mean I don't enjoy having companies. I too both dread and look forward to parties - because although I can spend my whole day happily doing nothing but reading in a quiet corner, but also I enjoy getting to know some new people out there somewhere. So in that sense, I completely understand how you mean. :)

Sienna x x x

larkspurshoppe said...

this was perfect. as an introvert myself, you articulated beautifully how i feel a lot of the time in big groups of people.

debbie said...

I've been following your blog for 2 years now, I think and this is the first time I've read an entry and not only looked at the photos. This is quite interesting to me... I believe I'd be one of the louder persons at parties and I always wondered about the quiet people in the room. I always thought, they are really bored... Sure, I know, people have different ways to live out fun... but still I couldn't picture it differently as I'm not a quiet person. Now I know better :)


Anonymous said...

I went to an early Christmas party last week and at times I wanted the ground to swallow me up....just because there were moments where I didn't know what to say! Ever since I've been criticising myself for 'not enjoying it enough' or not being bubbly and charming, even wondering whether I should just avoid parties in future. Thankyou for this post, I really needed to read it!