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An Anxious Guide to Partying

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Augustana chapter.

The first time I ever went to a true, full-blown party was just a few weeks ago. As someone who’s incredibly anxious, doesn’t socialize much, and is incredibly sensitive to sensory input (to the point that too much input triggers migraines), I never thought I’d even enjoy partying at all. In fact, I always told myself I’d never ever go to a big party; I preferred, and still do prefer to an extent, small gatherings with quiet music and a few friends. However, now that I’m in a sorority, I figured I’d give it a try.

The first party I went to was pretty ok. It was loud, crowded, and overwhelming; everything I thought it’d be. Quite frankly, the only reason I stayed was because my friends were there and didn’t want to be left alone. However, by the second party I’d gone to, I had a better grasp on what I was supposed to do, how to interact, and what to expect, and I actually had a pretty good time. I’ve been to more parties since then, and it’s become something I enjoy doing every now and then. I’ll never be a going-out-every-weekend person, but I know how to have a good time when I do go out.

So, how did I make parties more enjoyable for myself?

  1. Have people you can stick with!
    1. This is the biggest one for me. I do not do well socially unless I know at least one of the people I’m interacting with, and at parties people will go up and talk to you. Had I not had people I’d planned to be there with, who would let me follow them like a lost puppy, I would have been miserable.
  2. Step out whenever you feel the need to!
    1. Most parties, at least the ones I’ve been to, have had people step outside to smoke regularly throughout the night. Allow me to say, if you’re overwhelmed and you see some people go out for a smoke, follow them! Even if you don’t smoke, go anyway—most people are very chill about it. I usually just say that it’s a bit overwhelming inside, and we all have a laugh about it. I take a few minutes to let myself regulate my emotions again, and go back in.
  3. Know your limits.
    1. When it comes to certain… things that people… partake in at parties, you may not want to participate, and that’s fine! Contrary to popular belief, it is still possible to have a good time completely sober. I would know, I’ve done it. However, if you are going to, plan out what you’ll have and how much, and pace yourself and take breaks. It is not fun to be ridiculously under the influence. You know what you can and cannot handle, and you need to advocate for yourself in any situation that may arise.
  4. Just straight-up leave if necessary.
    1. Honestly, my biggest trick to partying is that I always leave early. This is pretty easy because I know multiple people who also get overwhelmed easily, so I can always reach out to them and be like “hey, do you wanna leave?” and if all else fails, if I get too overwhelmed and have a panic attack or shut down, there are specific people I know I can rely on to get me home. Don’t feel pressured to stay out all night. Partying from 9:30 til 11, or 10 til midnight, or even less than that, is perfectly fine. You’re there to have a good time, so feel free to leave whenever you want. Just find someone who you can walk back with—the buddy system never fails.

Of course, all this to say, you do not have to go out ever if you do not want to. College is what you make of it. However, if you are someone who struggles in big gatherings with loud noises and bright lights for any reason and you still want to go out, I hope my advice could’ve been of use for you.

Hello! My name is Mak, and I go by they/them pronouns. I'm a part of the Augustana College class of 2027, and I'm a History/Sociology-Anthropology double major (hopefully adding either a French or WGSS minor to that). I'm your classic insufferable angry queer feminist poet with too many opinions and too much time on her hands. Give me any topic and I'll write up a little rant about it, no problem, though I occasionally struggle with speaking out loud. I absolutely love to write and draw and sing, and I know way too much information about the band Fall Out Boy. I don't necessarily believe in astrology, but I'll admit it's a hobby of mine (I'm a Leo sun, Cancer moon, and Capricorn rising). My main goal is to work towards a better, safer future, both on campus and out in the world, for *all* women and feminine-aligned individuals, as well as to examine, understand, and deconstruct the sociology of gender and patriarchy in our society today. I'm always open to discussion and constructive criticism of any and everything I write on here — no one is perfect, myself included. Just shoot me a message or find me on campus. Love and support to all!