In this article, we’ll examine the benefits and drawbacks of going to a social event to help you decide if you should stay home or not.
- If you tend to be anxious around people, each time you go out is an opportunity to confront those feelings and practice socializing. Like most things in life, things start to come naturally the more you do them. Working through your fears is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself.
- Talking to others can expose us to new and inspiring ideas. Conversations can encourage us to start a new hobby or inform us of a shop that has recently opened, or even introduce us to a profession we’ve never heard of before.
- Through putting yourself in different situations, you’re able to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and what social settings are more suitable for you than others.
- You’re able to strengthen relationships you have and form new ones.
- Connecting with others has been proven beneficial to our mental health[1,2]. It’s an opportunity to laugh, relate, and share our deepest thoughts.
- Social events are meant to connect us, but many times can be overcrowded and impersonal. We may end up feeling as if we lack the ability to create meaningful connections.
- You might find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, leading you to behave in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise, simply because you want to fit in.
- You risk being confronted with parts of your personality you don’t like, for example being overly shy next to people you don’t know. This can lead to negative self-talk and upsetting thoughts.
- Social outings can oftentimes be pricey. This can be discouraging, especially if you’re trying hard to save up or you’d rather spend our money on different things.
You should almost always make yourself go to social events, especially if you feel anxious about socializing or usually decline invitations. Exceptions are if you already go to social events regularly, if it would mean spending money you don’t have, or if there are people at the event who are a bad influence on you. If you struggle to make yourself go to events even if you’d like to, see our guide on how to be more social.
Let’s go more into detail about whether you should go or not.
Is this a rare event with people you haven’t seen or won’t be seeing for a while? Take into consideration that meetups which don’t happen quite often are treated as special, and we tend to regret missing out on them. Special occasions call for special measures, and one of them is leaving the comfort of our home.
For example, a wedding, graduation, or maybe a farewell gathering for a friend who’s moving abroad. If this friend is important to you, it might be better for you to make the effort and go out. Your presence is meaningful, or else you wouldn’t be invited.
If you’ve been keeping to yourself for quite some time, you should consider acting differently this time. While we don’t need to constantly push ourselves out of the house, it’s worth reminding ourselves that repeatedly declining offers can decrease the chances for future invitations. Keep in mind that if you haven’t gone out for a while, it’s only natural you’ll feel a bit weird at first. Such feelings usually vanish as the evening or day plays out.
Ask yourself why you’re debating. This depends largely on the type of event you’re going to. If it’s a date, it could have something to do with the fear of rejection or the fear of awkward silences. If it’s an event with lots of people, it could be that you don’t know most of them and are afraid of having no one to talk to. If it’s a large family event, you might be exhausted just thinking of all the small talk and catching up you’ll have to do. It could be one main reason or several. It’s important to clarify to yourself why you’re hesitating so you can approach the question accordingly.
Once understood, you can begin to go through the reasons and see if there’s any way to ease the discomfort involved.
For example, if you’re going to an event with many people and are worried about being too shy to talk, know that you can always start a conversation by asking a question like, “Do you know who sings this song?” (assuming there’s music in the background), or “Have you tried this drink before?” (if both of you are checking out the menu or simply standing next to where they serve drinks) If at one point you feel like you can’t find where to place yourself, try to spot a close friend. If they’re sitting in a group, naturally greet and join them. Don’t pressure yourself into talking immediately, it’s okay to simply join in by listening.
If you’re going out on a date, you can offer to go to a familiar bar or restaurant. That way you know exactly how to get there, where to park, and what drink you’re having. This might sound too rigid or planned out, but be certain that the date will be spontaneous enough as it is, and if there are ways to lessen your nerves, do so.
Generally speaking, knowing you’re able to go back home is of great relief in almost all situations. In order to guarantee you’re free to come and go as you like, make sure you’re responsible for your own transportation. Whether it be by car or bus or on foot. Make sure you know how you’re getting back. This isn’t to say you’ll surely want to leave after an hour, but this is simply to help you feel less confined and nervous.
If you’re having a bad day, if you’re getting over a breakup, if you’ve recently been fired, or any other thing that is currently weighing over your life, it might not be the best to go out to a crowded event full of small talk with people you don’t know. But if you’re feeling down and you’re invited to an intimate get together with a close group of friends, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself comforted by their words and end up laughing and forgetting some of the things you were worrying about before you went out. Be open with yourself and take the time to listen to how you’re truly feeling.
Finding the balance between staying in or going out isn’t always easy. It’s between respecting your need for a quiet night at home but at the same time not giving up on the little events that add a different shade of color to your life.
If you end up going out, remember that it’s in order to have fun, not to impress or be someone other than who you are. You don’t need to be extroverted or talk incessantly just because you’re with other people.
If you end up staying in, be at peace with your decision but remember not to make it a fixed habit.
As mentioned before, there’s no clear-cut answer, but the key is to remain honest with yourself and work through the discomfort when possible.