Do I want to go to my high school reunion? Not really. Nor do I desire to return to the annual Christmas party with an old batch of high school friends. This HS jock is going AWOL. You heard me girl.
Groups and their pertaining conversations if you can call them that suffer from what I refer to as the lowest common denominator syndrome. The discussion reliably and without exception falls to the lowest level for all present to bear, versus rising to the greatest possible heights to serve and delight the most well-armed and educated of the bunch. Less pedantically, I sit there bored at dinner while my buddy swaps high school yet elementary tidbits with his friend while I pick at my plantain chips scooping up the last atom of avocado dip before I’m socially coerced into sharing.
Groups magnify interpersonal influence. If you are the one person who opposes the proposed plans or ideas, you face exponential pressure from the group, usually fueled by a ring leader. Entire social experiments and studies have validated the conformity bias which formally states that if everyone in the room is dead-fing-wrong you must promptly follow suit without question. Yes sir. Thank you sir. Will that be all, sir? Peer pressure is just the beginning of it here.
The classic introvert will thrive in one-on-one discussions and flail in groups. Deviating from this successfully for any period of time comes at an enormous psychological expense. Lean into who you are and apologize not. In the process, you’ll attain oodles of respect. Sure you may lose an iota of popularity but who’s counting and who cares.
If you wish to have volition over your life, and inner locus of control — a non-negotiable for personal happiness and well-being — then do your thinking independently and introspect in isolation. Examine your life and live that life well lived. The more valuable meta-learning with this post’s cogent argument (if I say so myself, unbiased as can be) is to have confidence in yourself and your operating systems. If you KNOW you won’t enjoy yourself at the event, don’t feel compelled to do so (all else equal). Life is too short to get bullied and pushed into things that are not in alignment with who you are. Alas, there is an opportunity cost with every action and decision you make. Life is finite, so don’t blow it quietly pouting in a corner.
If you think you are the only person with such esoteric behavior as avoiding annual get-togethers with people you are luke-warm on at best, then I implore you to keep searching for your tribe or positive plus one. Introduce yourself and be friendly with everyone. Experiment with new classes, events, living situations, locations, etc. Explore and expand into yourself; your vibe attracts your tribe, as they say. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to RSVP to a Christmas party.