Welcome to the fourth installment of Ask Wesleying, an advice column about any and all things Wes! Have a question about life at Wes? Submit it to get it answered in Ask Wesleying! You can find all of the Ask Wesleying columns here.
This week’s question is about party culture at Wes:
I hate parties! How can I avoid them and still have fun on the weekends?
Secretly a Grandma
You can read the answer to this week’s question below the jump!
Dear Secret Grandma,
Are we the same person? Or do all of us at Wesleyan actually just hate going out to be pressed up against a bunch of sweaty bodies in a tiny house on Fountain as a pack of first years attempt to force their way in the door and you somehow end up covered in stale keg beer despite there not actually being a keg at the party? I love “Party On Fountain” as much as the next guy (if you haven’t seen this, you really need to!!!), but I’m not such a fan of actual parties on Fountain (or Pine, or at Earth House, or anywhere else masses of people on a spectrum of inebriation are gathering).
Parties just aren’t my thing, and a lot of people feel that way. Yet somehow, every weekend we seem to get dragged out with our friends to fend for ourselves, seeking the ultimate fun college night, only to end up disappointed, shivering in line at Whey or Falafel in an attempt to redeem an otherwise shitty night.
It doesn’t have to be this way! One of the best things I ever did was lean into my inner grandma and stop giving in to the peer pressure to go out every weekend! Part of what helped me escape the party-going-cycle was finding friends who also aren’t big partiers. For me, FOMO (fear of missing out) is one of the reasons I usually end up going out on the weekends. By surrounding myself with people who enjoy the same things I do, I no longer feel like I’m missing out, because so many important people in my life are right there with me in PJs on a Saturday night! For example, my housemates and I have just as much fun staying in with a mug of tea (or a boozy milkshake) and watching silly TV shows together as other people do traipsing down Fountain. When I stay in with them, I don’t even notice the party noise drifting over from the loud streets!
This is not to say that you can’t be friends with people who like to party! You can totally stay friends with the party animals in your life, just maybe try to make plans with them at times other than the weekend nights when you know they’re going to be getting wilder than you’d like. Weekend brunch can be a good time to catch up with these people, so you can hear all about their debaucherous nights out without actually having to tag along! And by maintaining these relationships, you can ensure that you will always have a party to go to (and a partier to go with) if/when the mood strikes you!
Additionally, while I don’t generally find big concerts or parties fun, I do enjoy smaller, more intimate affairs with my friends. I am a big fan of theme parties/pre-games, with a small guest list of 20 or fewer. I’ve found that (at least in a program house- or senior house-sized space) this is the perfect number of people so that everyone can talk, mingle, dance, and drink without feeling too overwhelmed. You don’t have to have a theme, but it can also serve as an ice-breaker if you invite friends from different social circles. One of my favorite parties I’ve ever hosted was “CARLY RAvE JEPSEN,” a Carly Rae Jepsen-themed party to celebrate my 21st birthday. I served “E•MOji•TIOs” (one of many CRJ-themed cocktails my sister came up with for the occasion) and danced to CRJ bangers with my friends all night long! Hosting small theme parties is also great because you have a built-in excuse to stay in after the party wraps up: you’re already home! And if you attend an intimate affair at another person’s house, you can stay til the end and help clean up if you don’t feel like tagging along when the group rolls out to prowl for more parties in the night.
Finally, there are also plenty of things to do on the weekends that aren’t parties (and will usually get you in bed by midnight for a full night’s sleep)! The CFA (Center for the Arts) almost always has performances on the weekends (and student tickets rarely cost more than $6)! There are also often Second Stage shows going up on the weekends! UCAB (the Usdan Center Activities Board) plans and hosts substance-free, free events and outings basically every weekend! And the Wesleyan Film Series offers tons of great film screenings for free (or $5 on Fridays) Thursday-Saturday nights at 8 PM!
Middletown also has many fun and affordable things to offer, from its many bars and restaurants, to Metro Movies, to concerts and events at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center, to dancing at Vinnie’s Jump and Jive. And there’s lots of off-campus outings you can go on as well, just a short bike ride or drive away! Maybe what your party aversion is telling you is that you need to get out of the Wesleyan bubble for a bit and experience life outside of our little corner of Middletown.
I hope this gives you some ideas for ways to avoid parties and still have fun! If you fill your time with non-party activities, you’ll also build up your stamina so that you can still go to one or two big parties each semester and maybe even have a good time!