The life of the partyBy Wade Kwon
The party is wherever I am. Really.
Iâ€™ve become better at mingling over the years, but itâ€™s still a struggle at times. I am not typically a social butterfly.
The best parties for me involve that one connection. I can hold my own in conversation, but I hate getting stuck with a boor.
I donâ€™t need gimmicks, I donâ€™t need costumes, and I certainly donâ€™t need prompting.
The quickest way to shut me down is to mention (loudly) to the group, â€œYouâ€™re so quiet.â€ Nothing like a dare to draw out the introspective types.
Well-meaning guests intend it as an invitation to join the conversation. But it sounds like â€œDance, puppet, danceâ€ in my head. Not many people, sitting comfortably and listening attentively, can necessarily jump into a group fray midstream.
(In rare instances, I give in to social anxiety, and Iâ€™m a no show. Sad, but once dread sets in, itâ€™s difficult to put myself out there. And I hate myself for it.)
Iâ€™m good for about two minutes of small talk. After that, I hit the wall most of the time. More than likely, I can intelligently discuss any TV show you name. I can ask three good questions about your occupation or career. I can do about 30 seconds on the weather.
I donâ€™t really like to talk about myself. (This blog to the contrary.) Itâ€™s automatic modesty â€” what could I possibly say about my upbringing or work or life that could hold your attention?
If youâ€™re funny â€” more specifically, if you can make me laugh â€” you have my attention. Itâ€™s easy to weird me out. You might be too loud, or too catty, or too high maintenance. You might be standoffish, or drunk, or getting on my last nerve.
You canâ€™t help it. But I can, and thus, time for me to move on to â€œget some air.â€
Iâ€™m one to cut my losses. If Iâ€™m bored, I leave. If the crowd is too big, or too young, or too old, or too cool for school, count me out.
I try to have an exit strategy, but sometimes, it fizzles and Iâ€™m left standing in the same living room for another 30 minutes trying to gracefully vamoose.
Iâ€™m an exceptional wingman, putting up with a lot for the sake of a friend scoring. I can make decent introductions, but even that can be tricky. Such a social minefield, these parties.
I try not to drag pals down with me. They should have fun, even if Iâ€™m bombing.
I find the host before leaving to thank him. Hospitality is always appreciated.
The party of many again becomes the party of one. I live to party another day.