I don’t understand large friend groups; I can’t function at parties with more than 8-10 people (unless I know each of them personally); I don’t like being in groups of strangers; and I won’t participate in small talk if I know I’ll never see you again. These all add up and mean that I will only attend a large get-together once a month.
It’s fun to meet people and socialize, but it’s also incredibly draining. There are only so many new people I can meet, names and faces I can remember, and loud screaming conversations I can have before I start feeling overwhelmed, out of place, and irritated. You don’t want a grouchy guest that’s constantly glancing at the door or at her phone, and I don’t want to be that guest.
Please don’t take it personally when I, or another introvert, says no to an invitation. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be your friend or that we think your event isn’t worthwhile. It simply means that we’re taking care of ourselves and our needs, and we’d greatly appreciate it if you understood.
Society keeps telling us that we need to “live life to the fullest” and try new things, attend big festivals, and party with hundreds of friends. But we don’t need to. We can live life to the fullest by doing whatever makes us feel fulfilled — whether that’s partying or reading, hiking or sleeping, networking or chilling. It’s up to us, and we should not feel pressured to attend an event.
Here’s a reminder and invitation to you — family, friend, or foe: Listen to and care for yourself. Ignore the social norms and pressures to attend every event you’re invited to. You don’t need to. Take time for yourself if you want it. You deserve your time as much as, if not more than, other people do. Love yourself. Care for yourself. And feed your soul.
Living your life to the fullest doesn’t mean you have to attend every single social gathering. It’s your life. You know what makes you feel alive, loved, and well.
Adapted from Of Food and Travels.