Despite what previous posts would have you believe, I do occasionally go to parties, get-togethers, and shindigs of all kinds. Whenever people talk about meeting up and hanging out at someone's house with a bunch of other people, they usually use the verb "partying" to say it. As in, "we're going to party hard tonight!" or, "I did a lot of partying this weekend!"
But what does partying really entail? It's one of those tricky turns of phrase that means something different to everyone, much like "snack" or "busy." I can't answer for why some people say that they are busy when they have a little math homework to do instead of when they actually have very pressing matters to attend to, or why some people say they are going to have a snack first and then proceed to eat a full meal. Perhaps these people are equally bewildered when I say that I am going to "party" and I proceed to stand on the balcony and have long and overly sentimental conversations with people instead of dancing to the obnoxiously loud music.
Prior to pinpointing the particulars of my party-time preferences, we should discuss the differences dividing divergent party deeds.
You see, the kind of party we're talking about is very important. Some parties have tons and tons of people I don't know. Some have a small but well-acquainted group of people. Still others have a central focus on a particular game or theme.
As any of you who know me are probably already aware, I am awful at parties involving lots of people. I'm awful at all parties, but I'm bad at these ones in particular. They usually begin with, end with, and are punctuated by me standing against a wall and occasionally saying hello to people I know. These are especially difficult for me when we're talking about a college party, where I know a maximum of maybe five people.
Then we have theme parties and common interest parties. I lump them together in the same paragraph, but they are pretty distinct categories. Theme parties are where people, unsure if they share any common interests, attempt to create a common interest in the form of a theme that must be adhered to. For example, I went to a robot party full of people dressed as robots. Unfortunately, I had no access to robot materials, so rather than standing in the robot-kitchen talking about robot-costumes with other robot-people, I ended up on the wallflower-couch resorting to my usual big party strategy of being boring.
Common interest parties, however, are a name I give to a party where everyone has something in common to discuss. For example, this weekend I hit up an awesome Oregon Trail (the computer game) party. There was much competitive spirit and talk about dysentery. These kinds of parties are nice because there is something for everyone to talk about. They did not, however, have Nick Dietrich in mind when they created this kind of party. Nick Dietrich has to be the best at everything and will sit by the laptop attempting to become the best at Oregon Trail into the wee hours of night after everyone else has grown bored of the game.
The last kind of party is the kind that is small and where I know everybody. This is the environment in which I thrive. These parties are simply not prepared for Nick Dietrich. It doesn't take long for people to begin drinking, which gives Nick Dietrich the opportunity to talk to them for hours on end. There is no better way to have an insightful conversation than with a person who has drank just enough to tell you all sorts of things they ordinarily would probably not tell you. In this way I cultivate friendships through shared secrets, given only mostly willingly.
I understand that this sounds like I'm a weird person who is trying to take advantage of his friends, but in reality I just like making connections with people. Also, the whole "get them to tell me things they ordinarily wouldn't" actually backfires into me telling people all about myself far more than it works in the correct direction.
I guess the reality is that I'm someone who just likes to talk more than I like to dance or play beer pong or other forms of partying, though that's not to say I don't do high-energy things at parties sometimes too. One time I went exploring at a party and found a drum set, but that's a whole different story.
I guess the moral of the story here is that Oregon Trail is a cool game.