By Hardik Rajgor Nov. 24, 2017
Always be the first one to arrive at a party and befriend the guy who comes next. Don’t leave his side. He can do all the talking when confronted with strangers, leaving you free to simply nod in agreement.
ere is a simple insight that should tell you everything you need to know about the introvert in your life: The joy we get when a party is cancelled is directly proportional to the size of the crowd expected at that party.
Parties are to introverts what silence is to Arnab Goswami. As introverts, we go to great lengths to avoid a social situation. So when these situations go away of their own accord, I do a secret jig and then put on my pretend face:
I begin to crib about the party being cancelled and how I would’ve loved to be there to dance the night away. It is safe to say that none of my friends believe me.
But parties seldom just go away on their own. The hard work has to be put in by us introverts. I have devised excuses that range from ridiculous ones like “have to baby sit my neighbour’s pup” to grave ones like “currently undergoing a surgery”, but excuses are exhausting and need tracking. Once, to avoid going to a family function, I told mom that I had a football plan in the morning. Her reflex question, “Okay, so what time should I wake you up?” made me realise that I hadn’t thought this through. “6 am should be fine,” I said hurriedly, hoping she would forget. But she didn’t. After being woken up at an ungodly hour, I got dressed and left the house. At 6. In the morning. With no plan but to wander on the streets aimlessly. That’s how much we introverts hate being around people.
But man is a social being, or that’s what everyone tells me. Sometimes meeting people becomes inevitable. Like when a friend is leaving the country to study abroad, or a get together at the nearest Shiv Sagar to celebrate a cousin’s medical degree, or the best friend’s wedding. At times like these, you have no choice but to prepare yourself for a long night of social anxiety.
While everyone else looks forward to the “abhi toh party shuru hui hai” moment, it is this moment that I am worried about the most.
They say, “Well begun is half done”, and that’s the way to deal with parties. The first-mover advantage doesn’t restrict itself only to the domain of economics, its benefits can be seen in social life too. Being the first one to arrive at a party gives you an edge in the sense that you can familiarise yourself with the venue when it is devoid of people. You can make a mental note of the surroundings and recce various places like the dance floor, eating arena, and washrooms. You can even pick a favourite table or corner to continue the long wait. The wait ends as soon as the first person after you arrives. You immediately pounce on him with the clear intent of making a “friend” for the night and don’t leave his side. Your “friend” is your saviour: He will do all the talking, leaving you free to simply nod in agreement when you find yourself surrounded by people making small talk. It’s like batting with Virender Sehwag, all you need to do is nudge it down to third man for a single and let him do his thing.
If this new-found bae is an extrovert, you can congratulate yourself at having grabbed him because of your genius move of simply arriving early. Had you come late, you’d have to fight for his attention and that is not one of your stronger traits. Pro Tip: If your party buddy wants to go to the washroom, you go with him. You may come across as slightly clingy, but you don’t have to see him again so you shouldn’t really care.
The good thing about arriving early is that you can also leave early, before the party hits its “peak”. While everyone else looks forward to the “abhi toh party shuru hui hai” moment, it is this moment that I am worried about the most. The lights go dull, the music goes loud, everyone starts shouting, and the pressure to dance and enjoy consumes us all, and nothing terrifies an introvert more than a call to the dance floor. The minute you sense it coming, make your final move: leave
Making an exit may require tact. Your friends might put forward an obligatory “Why are you leaving so early?” All you need is a sprinkling of words that cannot be challenged because the guy anyway can’t hear you over “Baby Doll”. The words “family”, “ work”, “flight”, “emergency” are enough. Do not attempt a full sentence because then they will be obligated to make sense of it.
The key to navigating through a party is to play to your strengths, which is interacting with small groups of people. Try to be adventurous and you could find yourself shouting among a large group like the helpless panelist on Arnab Goswami’s show. At the end of it all, no one understands what the fuck’s going on, and it is really really stressful.