Photo by Gakuto Ochi via Flickr
Hi my name's Anna and I'm an introvert. I also like dance music and hanging out with my friends, because contrary to a popular misconception, being introverted doesn't mean you're a social turkey. It actually just means I get my energy from within myself, rather than externally, from other people. So whereas an extrovert will get their kicks out of talking to strangers in a bar, I get mine from what psychologists call "solitary pursuits". Like, say, writing an essay about introvertism and clubbing while listening to Dauwd on my headphones.
Like a lot of introverts, I find small talk not just boring, but physically exhausting. That means going parties where I don't know anyone can be incredibly draining. So even though going out to loud places with lots of external stimuli and random people—AKA da club—might not seem like a natural fit for an introvert, I'm here to tell you that there are ways to not let the inner workings of your personality get in the way of things you like doing.
In fact, if done right, clubbing can be one of the best things an introvert can do, because listening to your favorite music in a dark room with short, optional intervals of talking to your friends is paradise. So here's my overly earnest little guide to going clubbing as an introvert:
Your enjoyment of dragging yourself away from the comforts of your own apartment is going to live or die by how much you dig the DJ you're supposed to be going to see. While this is obviously true of anyone, at least if you're an extrovert and you go to a shit club night, you'll probably enjoy talking to all the boneheads in the smoking area. But for most introverts, if you're not into a lineup, there's no redeeming feature to being in a room with flashing lights where you can't hear yourself think let alone talk to your mates. So pick your night wisely.
Contrary to a popular misconception, being introverted doesn't mean you're a social turkey.
I don't like clubbing in big groups or with people I don't really know that well. There, I said it. I like to keep things confined to my nearest and dearest—chill people who I know won't leech me of all my energy. Or, to put it another way, I exclusively roll with people I'm past the stage of needing to make small talk with. Let's keep it real: you're not going to reach a heightened state of enlightenment by hearing about how long someone waited for the G train.
Photo by Bruno Bayley
Take your sweet ass time to get ready. Socializing as an introvert works on a constant loop of interacting with people and downtime. Might sound counter-intuitive, but if you want any hope of being on your best form when hanging out with other people, pencil in a little you time before you go out. It doesn't have to be anything new age-y or weird. Just have a shower, put on a mix by the DJ you're making all this navel-gazing effort to see, and pour yourself a half-decent gin and tonic.
The thing that ruins clubbing for me is the painfully long preamble. Standing around in an overcrowded bar talking to people I don't know (see above) takes it out of me, so by the time I get to the club, I'm totally spent and just want to go home. But here's the workaround: if you choose the bar, you can control for guaranteed good vibes because you can pick spot that's not super crowded. You want to ease into your night, not headbutt it to death before you've given it a fighting chance.
The warm, cozy cocoon of the dancefloor is why you went through all this shit. Enjoy it. Let it wash over you. Sway gently to the dulcet tones of the comforting melodic techno. Just listen. You don't have to talk to anyone—hell, you don't even have to look at anyone. Bliss.
Don't feel bad about, and don't let anyone else make you feel guilty about it. Not every night is going to be one of those Epic Big Nights Out. (You will still feel bad about leaving.)
Photo by Robert Foster
You've survived till last call! Now reward yourself at the afterparty. You can debrief with your pals and have some deep chats. Contrary to popular belief, introverts don't hate talking to other people. In fact, many thoroughly enjoy a pretentious pseudo-philosophical debate one-on-one with a close friend. Where better to find one of those than at 5AM on your friend's rooftop in Astoria?
You'll need to recoup, and not just from your hangover. The alone time before you went out might have recharged you enough to make it through the night, but chances are you're now feeling totally strung out. Put your phone on do not disturb, whack on some Kiasmos and revel in your smug solitude.
Anna Codrea-Rado is THUMP's News Editor, follow her on Twitter.