anxiety · celebration · friendship · life · party · people · perception · social anxiety · Writing prompt

Experiences at Parties

My personal experiences with parties are few and far in-between. Basically, that means I have almost zero to share about being at parties because they’re not my go-to place to hang out or meet new people, unfortunately.

The last party I went to was when I was about sixteen-ish and I traveled all the way to Staten Island for a friend’s birthday party. I became acquainted with this friend of mine because my father was friends with her parents, but we did not attend the same school or even have the same friends. I made her a birthday card with lots of glitter and decorated it with lots of marker lettering. Being at her party, I felt like a fish out of water surrounded by mostly people I didn’t know or was too unsure about how to engage with them. The celebration was at her house and her parents were nice. Prior to this, I had never willingly put myself in a space where there were tons of people unless it was a place I had no choice but to be in (like school). You could say I had a lot of anxiety in the situation, but also that anxiety magnified my own insecurities so that made me even less willing to make an effort to talk to other people as the night went on. I remember specifically my friend introduced me to a female classmate of hers and even with that kind of opportunity to get to know someone, all I could do is just greet her back and go completely silent after that. I was so uncomfortable towards the end of the night when some of my friend’s friends grouped all together in her room, where I was also present, that I hid in the bathroom several times. By the time I went home, I was eager to get out of there.

I’m sure the fact I was so self-conscious about myself did contribute to why it was so hard for me to relax and just join in with playing games with people even if I didn’t know them personally. All in all, I didn’t have a completely horrible time. I briefly felt satisfied with myself when it was the moment to sing “Happy Birthday” to my friend and I had sung along with everyone else at the party. I was too shy to eat in front of anyone, though, so I didn’t have a slice of the cake. I also felt okay about being in the backyard, where I sort of talked to a classmate of my friend’s as the both of us were on the swing set. However, knowing me, at the time I could only think about the perceived bad stuff that happened when I was at the party, so the next time I had the opportunity to attend another one of her parties, I declined because I didn’t want a repeat of the last one. I definitely blamed myself a lot for how “horribly” things went at the last party and persuaded myself that it would be better if I didn’t go.

Growing up, I heard a lot about parties as places where people drink a lot and perhaps do drugs? I’m not trying to be judgmental about that lifestyle for adults because, hey, that’s your life and you are grown enough to make adult choices, but for teens, maybe not so much. Then again, I say this with a grain of salt since I have not lived through experiences with using drugs when I was still a teen and I can’t judge people harshly for their choices when I have never been in their shoes. If I had the chance to experience party life as a teen, I think there’s a good chance I might’ve succumbed to peer pressure since those years were very confusing for me and I didn’t yet know who I was as a person. That is just my opinion for myself had I been in that situation. Now as an adult, I don’t know if I’ll ever find myself in a situation where I have to attend parties out of obligation, like some social hour thing after work or whatnot. Or maybe I’ll just say no thanks and go home.

In a perfect scenario, if I did attend a party, I’d want it to be with people I actually know and am okay with being around. I do feel a little glum thinking about the fun other people must have at holiday parties, like for Halloween or Christmas. I wish I could be comfortable enough to go, but I don’t think it will happen for me anytime soon. I wouldn’t mind having a good time although being safe and exercising caution at a party is also extremely important to me. You never know what kind of people are out there waiting to take advantage of others in a situation where you might not expect something bad to happen.

One sticky “party” situation I was in was when I was hanging out with one of my cousins for the weekend at her place in New Jersey. She got grounded by her mom for something, and as a result, was not allowed to attend one of her friend’s upcoming parties. Then her mom said she could go if I went with her. Uh oh! Immediately I got a sinking feeling in my stomach because she put that responsibility on me to be the deciding factor of whether my cousin could go or not. I thought it was unfair for her to do that. I felt extremely guilty, but I decided not to go to the party, which kept my cousin from attending too.

Before I turned sixteen many years ago, my mother suggested I could have a sweet sixteen party. I know this type of thing is made into a big milestone for girls when they become sixteen, but I didn’t want it; both because I didn’t like my own birthday being such a huge deal and because I literally had no one to invite.

Prompt 158 From Think Written: Have you ever gone to a party you didn’t want to leave? Or do you hate parties? Write about it!

Featured Image by William Montout.

4 thoughts on “Experiences at Parties

  1. No, I’m not expected to make a speech, fortunately, although as it’s a religious wedding, I am making the blessing on the bread at the start of the meal, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Actually, I have done some public speaking in the past. It was nerve-wracking, but I actually found it easier than just making small talk with strangers – I was more in control of things when I was making a speech and I could stick to my notes without having to improvise like in a conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear you don’t find public speaking to be too hard and that you have notes to help you. I would be a mess trying to make a speech! Good luck and hope everything goes well at the wedding.


  2. Yeah, I also don’t like parties. I used to hide in the toilet too. I haven’t had a birthday party of my own since my bar mitzvah over twenty years ago. I’m nervous about my sister’s wedding in a few weeks. That’s going to be very big and formal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dear, a wedding! 😮 I can’t imagine the pressure of that since you’re the brother of the bride. I hope people are not expecting you to make a big fancy speech before a toast or something. I don’t know if my brother will get married one day, but if it ever comes to that, I am not going to make any speeches or toasts anytime soon.


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