Neurotypical parties/social gatherings of more than 3

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Jay_1
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17 Feb 2013, 3:10 pm

Hi,
through university I put up with going to parties or clubs even though I hated them, for both sensory and social reasons. I just end up watching other people, studying their interactions in a detached kind of way. I wasn't being expected to interact really, as the majority of people were total strangers. People tried to "pick me up" a couple of time (Is that how you say it?). I returned these attempts with a blank "F*** off" stare

Now that I am out of university, parties/social gatherings now put more pressure on me because they are smaller, and I am expected to participate in conversation. I can't just stand back and observe now.

As a result, I find parties more stressful. I know I should go to them, but I am more confident in saying no now. In my head I say " Aha! F*** you!, NOPE! not going!" but that's not nice, I am not sure who I am attacking while thinking this because being invited in the first place is a nice gesture.


Answer's to any of these questions would be appreciated:

What are some of your philosophies on partying?

Do you end up going?

What do you do when your are there?


and importantly,

Are you comfortable and do you follow through with your decision of going or not going? is there a mental struggle like 'should' statements?




Thanks,

- Jay



JeepGuy
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17 Feb 2013, 3:27 pm

Everything you describe is exactly how I feel. I can't stand parties. If I can, I will make excuses not to go. If I've said I will go, I force myself to go but I do not necessarily enjoy it. For me I don't understand how they can have so much fun drinking and trying to talk while loud music is playing in the back ground. I sit in a corner and pretty much watch and avoid saying much. I save all my energy for answering questions or giving my opinion when someone addresses me. You can usually see them coming because they are the people who make their rounds as though they have to have a conversation with everyone in the room at some point. People have actually said that I look extremely calm and relaxed when I'm just sitting there doing nothing, but on the inside my brain is doing hoolahoops around my spine and my insides feel all tight and twisted. I've learned to act calm, but I can feel all the energy it takes to maintain that facade. Most of the time I just wish they would just try playing actual games besides their social interaction games. Put some playing cards in my hand and distract me a little and I'll usually open up somewhat and have a little fun, but as it is most parties are about chatting about random stuff and trying to out-talk each other.

Oh. And of course there's the flirting game which I don't know how to play either.


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Last edited by JeepGuy on 17 Feb 2013, 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

redrobin62
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17 Feb 2013, 3:30 pm

No parties for me. Sorry.



howzat
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17 Feb 2013, 3:57 pm

I am not to keen on parties and clubs as it does absolutely nothing for me.



Jinks
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17 Feb 2013, 4:02 pm

I always had this problem, and asked my psychotherapist (who also has AS) about this the last time I saw her. She said that when people invite her to gatherings like this, she says:

"Thank you for inviting me. I understand that for most people places/events like that are great fun. But because of the way my brain works, I find busy, noisy places very uncomfortable, so I'm afraid I can't go. But I hope you have a great time!"

And since then, I've been doing the same thing. You don't have to talk about autism if you are talking to people who don't know you are autistic - you can tell them it's because of sensory sensitivity (to background noise, music, lots of people talking) without bringing up autism. People accept this explanation much better than an obvious excuse to try to get out of going. If for some reason they aren't sympathetic or don't believe you, you want to keep well away from that person anyway and not go places with them, because they won't be a good friend to you.

Honesty works wonders, so you should try it. Most of all, don't assume that you are obliged to do something you aren't comfortable doing because other people want or expect you to. You should never feel guilty about saying no to something that isn't right for you.



rebbieh
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17 Feb 2013, 4:04 pm

I don't like parties and I find it very difficult to be around people I don't know. I'm bad at initiating conversation so on the rare occasion I attend a party I sort of end up observing people without participating in a conversation unless someone asks me a specific question. Even then I might just give the person some sort of short answer and then continue being silent and stimming (small things with my hands, feet or legs) while being very anxious. I also find all the noise very tiring and I often end up with headaches after social gatherings (even the day after).

I often feel like I should attend parties (or just social gatherings in general) more often. Seems like that's what people are supposed to do. My classmates party pretty much every weekend and even during the weeks sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I should attend one of their parties just to prove that I can do it. I don't want to though.

I'm ok with hanging out with smaller groups of people if I know them all. Otherwise I'll be very uncomfortable and even though I might know everyone except one person that one person can make me so uncomfortable I pretty much go mute.



Last edited by rebbieh on 17 Feb 2013, 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

elsing
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17 Feb 2013, 4:06 pm

What are some of your philosophies on partying?

The only thing i liked about uni parting/clubbing is the physical sensation of walking onto a dancefloor feeling slightly tipsy with dance music playing so loud that i am completely consumed by it

the rest was always very much me observing and struggling to hear what other people were saying and feeling bored

Do you end up going?

I used to often say yes if i knew we were going to a club but an actual party then no. More recently I go to family diner partys only if I am obliged to attend and they are obliged to invite.

What do you do when your are there?

These days its always family parties and I end up sitting around failing to interject myself into the conversation, I get ignored by them or get sat closest to the kiddie table. I try my best to mingle anyway until bordem takes over and i can no longer resist the compulsion to stare at the fancy wallpaper or pretty lights at which point everyone jumps on me franticly asking if i'm alright, i say yes, I answer the questions they feel suddenly they need to ask about my life and they go back to being ignored again then i go home.

and importantly,

Are you comfortable and do you follow through with your decision of going or not going? is there a mental struggle like 'should' statements?

This is something I came up with earlier:
I don't want to go to your party, I wouldn't enjoy it when i got there, but it would be nice to recive a F***ing invite so I can polietly turn you down

I feel this because apart from families no one invites me anywhere
I appreciate he gesture, it's nice.



Jay_1
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17 Feb 2013, 5:34 pm

Wow it's fantastic hearing about these things. I have identified very much with these responses. I have gone through the honesty route, but my friends (totaling 5-6 and fully OK with that), still keep nagging me. I think it's because they can not imagine how I would be any different in the presence of someone else than my presence with them alone.

I don't like partying because then other people actually see me "in the raw", how I actually operate when I encounter social exchanges that are chaotic and can't be pinned down.

I develop sets of rules and knowledge about how to communicate with someone I have known for a while. Something like a decision procedure. It's like all the information is accessible in this visually labeled file in my mind. It's the same reason I don't like mixing friends - I am a behavioral chameleon when I follow these rules, catered to individuals only.

I have to make a new file in my mind when meeting someone, but during a party when the encounters are brief, it's like I don't yet have a system of equations for this person. Nothing has been built up, I can't extrapolate what would be appropriate to say next - I don't know what they are interested in.

If I ask what they are interested in, most often I hear of things that don't even slightly interest me.


It's like I need to talk about interests that are based on physical objects. That's my only rule when first talking to someone, and rarely do I find people that prioritize objects and interests vs. talking about other people



WrongWay
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17 Feb 2013, 9:27 pm

I've been to a party (clubbing sort) twice. First time I actually chose to go without being asked to as I was curious as to what it'd be like (some of my friends were there as well). I didn't actually find it that bad though I didn't really talk that much to other people (loud music being an excuse, but mostly cause I don't usually initiate conversations with people meet for the first time). Still I didn't find it awkward though some people probably thought I was lol. Second time I went with two other friends who also weren't particularly 'party type' so again didn't find it awkward. I did manage to talk to some other people as well. And we only stayed for an hour and a half or so.



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18 Feb 2013, 2:24 am

I hate parties with a passion -- birthday parties, happy hours with co-workers, family reunions -- doesn't matter. I'm just as uncomfortable at my grandparents' Thanksgiving dinner as I am at the corporate Christmas party. It really comes down to the number of people involved and how much I'm expected to interact with said people. One-on-one? Great! I'll really enjoy it. Two people? Having to split my attention between the two is cumbersome, but I can still enjoy it if the others are really fun. Anything more than that and I start getting uncomfortable. By the time a dozen people are involved, I'm pretty much muted. And my discomfort doesn't wane even if I know the people involved. I attended a baby shower at work once along with about 2 dozen others, and knew every woman there a minimum of 3 years and the mother-to-be for 5 years. And yet the whole time I was there (about an hour as it was at work), my brain kept screaming "I have to get out of here. I HAVE to get OUT OF HERE!" It's not that I hate crowds -- that's not an issue for me. I love concerts and festivals and ballgames -- all as long as I don't have to talk to anyone there.



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18 Feb 2013, 2:24 am

I hate parties with a passion -- birthday parties, happy hours with co-workers, family reunions -- doesn't matter. I'm just as uncomfortable at my grandparents' Thanksgiving dinner as I am at the corporate Christmas party. It really comes down to the number of people involved and how much I'm expected to interact with said people. One-on-one? Great! I'll really enjoy it. Two people? Having to split my attention between the two is cumbersome, but I can still enjoy it if the others are really fun. Anything more than that and I start getting uncomfortable. By the time a dozen people are involved, I'm pretty much muted. And my discomfort doesn't wane even if I know the people involved. I attended a baby shower at work once along with about 2 dozen others, and knew every woman there a minimum of 3 years and the mother-to-be for 5 years. And yet the whole time I was there (about an hour as it was at work), my brain kept screaming "I have to get out of here. I HAVE to get OUT OF HERE!" It's not that I hate crowds -- that's not an issue for me. I love concerts and festivals and ballgames -- all as long as I don't have to talk to anyone there.



FishStickNick
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18 Feb 2013, 2:47 am

Jay_1 wrote:

What are some of your philosophies on partying?

I avoid them when I can. I do best in gatherings of close friends or family members where the social demands are lower, and the conversation matter is more likely to be things I'm interested in.

Quote:
Do you end up going?

If it's an office party at my job, I might go for a half hour or something, then leave.

Quote:
What do you do when your are there?

I hide in the corner. :P I have a hard time engaging others or maintaining conversation when it doesn't involve something I'm interested in, and noisy/busy environments can cause me to space out, so it's an unpleasant experience.

Quote:
Are you comfortable and do you follow through with your decision of going or not going? is there a mental struggle like 'should' statements?

I follow through some of the time but not always. It depends on what sort of get-together it is.



chiastic_slide
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18 Feb 2013, 12:32 pm

What are some of your philosophies on partying?

I avoid parties. I get anxious about going and try to get out of it. If I can't get out of it I feel trapped, anxious and sulky.

Do you end up going?

Sometimes. I do enjoy if there is someone I know who is like minded I can latch on to. General parties with strangers are my worst nightmare.

What do you do when your are there?

Family get togethers - I just sit and listen to the conversation...

Clubbing - I used to enjoy clubbing and if the music is good I still do, but mostly the night seems to go on and on, it's too sweaty, hot, loud and everyone is on drugs except me. My friend takes E and smokes weed and I only drink. Eventually I just zone out until it is done. Generally a club night lasts too long, I want to be left alone. I wonder who decided that people must punish themselves like this every year on the anniversary of their birth.

Parties with people my age - same as clubbing, after a certain length of time I zone out and cannot socialise any more than smiling and nodding. I don't go to these sorts of things often. If I am going to socialise I would rather it be with a couple of people, than a house full of strangers.

and importantly,

Are you comfortable and do you follow through with your decision of going or not going? is there a mental struggle like 'should' statements?

Yes the struggle is horrendous. I get angry that I was ever asked to go. I got so sick of the struggle last time I was invited out clubbing that I consulted the I Ching (book of changes). It told me to stay home. So I did.



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18 Feb 2013, 1:09 pm

I really only have two friends who throw parties, or gatherings of more than just two or three of us. One friend I really like going to hang out with, because there's never more than five or six of us and we're all friends from high school, we just get together, talk, play board games and have dinner and that's about the extent of it. My other friend has been known for having big parties for a while now, I don't usually enjoy them because they usually have a lot (10 or 15) of her friends there who I've never met, and we never do anything but conglomerate in her basement having Nerf gun wars. Recently the parties have escalated to involve alcohol, something that neither she nor I, nor 90% of the other guests are legally old enough to do. I think that was the point at which I stopped showing up. As for all other parties, thrown by my parents' friends and such, I rarely have a choice about going, but I don't enjoy them, I always bring a book with me and usually end up reading on the stair or in a corner until it's time to go.


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Random42
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18 Feb 2013, 1:51 pm

I don't like parties but I like certain things about them. I like to dance. I am horrible at dancing but I do enjoy it. I don't get asked by guys to dance but I do line dances, which are very difficult for me, or I dance by myself( when it is something you can dance by yourself to) I like the food at dinner parties because it is usually very good. I also like cake. Despite the things I like about parties I still prefer to not go. Even if I end up having fun they are still somewhat stressful. I end up going to some parties if I feel obligated to go( ex graduations or wedding showers) but I would rather stay home. When I do go to parties I end up sticking close to someone I am comfortable with. If there is no one there I am comfortable with I do not stay long at all. I do enjoy small structured gatherings. ( ex playing games, talent show, playing sports...though I am awful at sports I do enjoy playing them...skating parties...i can skate really good,etc...)



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20 Feb 2013, 11:35 pm

Random42 wrote:
... Even if I end up having fun they are still somewhat stressful...


This is the weirdest part for me. When I attend a gathering it's almost never as bad as I anticipate. But when the time comes for the next one, I completely forget that I made it through the previous one and get stressed out all over again.