When I’m invited to a party, my first instinct is not to go.
Who will be there? I’ll need a list of everyone else you’ve invited, please. How many people total? Don’t leave anyone out, because then I’ll be upset. Is anyone I don’t know coming? I don’t want to be around people I’m not familiar with.
Oh, this is going to be horrible!
As the day approaches, I’ve thought out a million different scenarios of how the night will unfold, and most of them are bad. I get cold feet. What if someone doesn’t like me? What if I say or do the wrong thing and get embarrassed? I should probably just stay home.
Then I walk in and, as usual, I’m the fattest guy there. That makes me self-conscious to eat in front of people. I feel like everyone is watching me and judging my every move.
I rarely drink alcohol, so while everyone is pounding beers or having wine, all I want to do is sip on water or a soda. Inevitably, this will cause a serious drinker to ask why I’m not drinking, and the truthful answer is never good enough. Beer drinkers don’t believe anyone doesn’t like beer. They believe that you just haven’t found the right one, and they think they they are just the person for the job. What follows is an impromptu sampling of several beers, followed by me spitting them into the sink.
Then the party games begin. This really freaks me out. The small-talk I’ve already made with a few different people is more than enough interaction for me. Now you want me to toss ping pong balls into cups? Or pantomime words and phrases for others to guess? What a charade! I like you. Please don’t make me interact with strangers. The last thing I want to do is ruin your good time by screwing up the game.
Sometimes I hide. When people go to one room to enjoy each other’s company, I disappear to be alone in another. One time I went upstairs at a friends house and hid in his closet for an hour.
But the worst is when I have to go to the bathroom. The anxiety of attending this party has been building up for a week. My head is swimming from all the interaction. Combined with the spicy meatballs you laid out, my stomach has turned to mush. It’s definitely going to be diarrhea.
Why is it that, at every social gathering I attend, the host’s bathroom is within 10 feet of the main party hub? There’s no “sneaking off to use the restroom” here because everyone saw you go in. They are all out there timing me. If I’m gone more than 90 seconds, they’ll know I’m shitting. Please don’t let anyone hear. Please let there be enough toilet paper. Let me crack a window or light a match, because if it stinks when I leave, I’ll never hear the end of it. The next person who goes in will tell stories about me for years. Please please please let it all flush down clean. I don’t want to be known as Skidmark.
But enough about all that. Let me tell you what I do like. I like when the evening is wrapping up and the crowd starts dwindling and it’s just me, you, and a few other close friends. These are my favorite moments of the night, and it makes all the mental anguish worth it. Sure, we have to get back to our regular lives, but let’s just sit around talking and laughing a little while longer. We’ll all go home soon.
Thanks for having me. It was torture, but I had fun. I know you’ll read this and think about not inviting me next time, but please do. Anxiety sucks, but nothing is worse than being lonely.