I Party like a rock star…
…though probably more like Neil Peart than, say, Axl Rose. I am one of those people known today as an “outgoing introvert.” Perhaps you have heard of this chimera. The condition seems to be very trendy these days, though like many things it is likely to lose appeal in a few years (or months), being one more overly reductive definition of our psyche, just as it is no longer cool — or medically appropriate — to be labeled Asperger’s.
For now, though, it’s nice to have a label that breaks through the dichotomy of introvert/extrovert. The thing is, in a general sense, I really like people. I like it when they are elated, flirty, and hilarious, and also when they are depressed, crazy, and pissed as hell. Even when they are stupid, which I find the hardest to tolerate, I still often shake my head and say, “yeah, we’ve all been there.”
But I am also horrendously bad at small talk. I don’t suffer fools gladly. If your goal at a party is to broadcast your opinions without taking the time to listen to others, I probably won’t like you very much. That being said, if I am alone for too long, I climb into my head far too much, and my mind stagnates. So I go to parties.
Many people go to parties to blow off steam; I go to explore. When I’m at a party, I don’t like to talk about myself, unless I get really comfortable with someone (which is rare). I ask a ton of questions. I listen, whether I’m part of the conversation or not. I want to know your whole life story, how you got here, where you’re headed. I love connecting with people on shared interests, but I am also constantly in search of experiences that are completely different from my own.
I should also say that I define “party” loosely. The best parties are like adventures, where you go to five different places in a night and the crowd you’re with keeps shifting, where you come with your friend and end up talking to a drag queen at 3am about how excruciating (or exhilarating, or both) it is to wear 5-inch stilettos. The introvert in me will always revel in the comfort of a more intimate gathering with close friends, but I also want to gather as much collective human experience as I can, one person at a time.
At the end of a night, I will come home and replay the events of everything that happened, all the stories I heard, in my head. I will have dreams I never would have had I stayed at home racking my brain for ideas. In those moments after the mad joy of the party, I find my best creative space.