06 April 2011

i am the ultimate party animal

People tell me that I’m smart and funny. Sometimes, I even believe them. Then I go to a large social gathering and realize that they were lying to me all this time.

It was my friend’s birthday recently, so we had a small get together, complete with cake and general happiness. There were people there with whom I was very familiar, but there were also some of her friends with whom I was not as well acquainted. People she knew from her classes or friends who were not necessarily part of our core group of friends but still knew.

I realize that at this point I sound like one of those cliquey girls in Mean Girls (you can’t sit with us!), but I promise you I’m not like that. It’s not as though we have vicious three-way calling attacks or rules like wearing pink on Wednesdays. The only rule we strictly enforce is to keep lids on liquids, but that’s just because it makes sense.

After we had sung and she had semi-successfully blown out the trick candles, we were all sitting (or laying, in some cases) on the floor, absolutely stuffed with what might be the densest chocolate cake I have ever encountered. Since there was no more ceremony to which we had to attend, we began to engage in conversation. Please note that I use the word “we” lightly.

Someone started telling a hilarious story about her childhood, triggering a procession of people telling stories with the hopes of topping the previous one. It may have been the cake, or the stories about awkward pee situations, but everyone was laughing, fully engrossed in the moment.

The only thing I could think of while this was happening was, whenever I was having a conversation with someone, whether the other person was actually listening to what I had to say or was instead thinking about the next thing he or she wanted to say. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I talk to other people, I find the conversation veering in the direction of the other person until it comes to them talking and me nodding and occasionally interjecting a “yeah” here and there.

Normally, I’d be right there with my friends, laughing until tears were streaming down my cheeks. But that day I wondered what would happen if I didn’t engage. If I didn’t buy into what was expected of me and tell a self-deprecating story about what a strange child I was (am?). Maybe I was feeling tired. Maybe I didn’t have a relevant story. Maybe I didn’t want to have to entertain people I didn’t know.

But instead of grasping at any story I had in an attempt to make people laugh, I sat. I listened. Peer pressure was not going to get the best of me.

I would normally have some sort of observation around this point in the post, but I don’t really have anything to contribute. People in social situations are strange creatures indeed.


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