Pride Month sometimes feels like it’s tailor-made for extroverted people. The outfits, the loud music, the crowds, the parties — all of that is great if you love being around people, but what about the lesbian introverts among us? The ones who cringe every time we leave the house and remember that, oops, other humans also occupy this world and we have to interact with them sometimes?
Well, we are also hella gay and hella proud of it. If you’re a socially awkward introvert, Pride can be for you, too, if you want it to be.
If you want to partake in Pride this year while staying true to your introvert self, here’s some advice.
Find an outfit that makes you feel confident.
Leaving the house is hard, but you will actually WANT to leave your bubble if you have a cute outfit to wear. This dress isn’t gonna compliment itself, ya know? And when you feel good about yourself, it’s much easier to overcome social anxiety. That mean little voice in your head is a little bit quieter, and the outfit serves as an armor to protect your lovably weird and self-conscious lil’ self.
Your cute outfit doesn’t have to include rainbow pasties or a neon wig or glitter. This is not about living up to some ideal of what Pride should look like. Find something that makes YOU feel confident and cute as hell.
Give yourself permission to miss out.
Look into your heart, Marie Kondo style, and decide which Pride events truly make you feel joy when you imagine attending them. Only go to those. If that means skipping out on a lot of things, THAT IS OKAY.
FOMO is real, but going to an event that you realllllyyyyyy don’t feel like going to rarely works out well. Events are usually fun because you want to be there, not because they’re just magically fun enough to change your mind for the night. You’re likely to end up resentful, tired, and grumpy, and it’s a waste of social energy that you could be spending on things you actually enjoy.
Establish a partner-in-crime.
Who’s one person that makes you giggle so hard that you completely forget that you’re in a crowd full of people? Make concrete plans with them to attend the events that you want to go to, especially the ones that you feel a little nervous about. It helps if this friend is willing to hang out by your side practically all night long. Social butterflies who will abandon you for an hour at a time to go “say hi to a friend” need not apply, thx.
Get there late and leave early.
The Get There Late and Leave Early life hack is a life-saver for introverts who want to party, but only in small doses. If you get to the event late, everyone will be tipsy already, which makes it easier to just slide seamlessly into the fray. And if you leave early while things are still popping, you can slip away without being noticed before your social battery runs out — the dream.
This method can be tough if you have the type of friends who will try to guilt you into staying for “one more drink” until suddenly it’s 4 a.m., but you just have to remain strong! Make an excuse, pry your hands free, and make a bee-line for your bed. Or, sneak away first and text them bye afterward. You will feel like a genius, I promise.
Liquid courage (in moderation).
This one is obvious. Yes, alcohol can be a socially awkward introvert’s best friend. It makes it actually possible to speak to strangers without stuttering over every word. On the other hand, it’s easy to use alcohol as a coping mechanism, get over-excited with how well it’s working, drink wayyy too much, and then feel retroactively embarrassed the next day. No judgment, it happens to the best of us. But it’s never a bad idea to pace yourself, because honestly, everybody else is drunk anyway, so you have zero reason to be self-conscious — no need to drink six martinis.
Look for smaller, chiller events to attend.
Instead of going to the biggest Pride parades or concerts, consider going to film screenings, art exhibits, plays, panels, family events, or sober events. In New York City, there’s a Dyke Bar Walking Tour, an after-hours event at the library, and Pride night at the New York Botanical Garden, all of which sound much more introvert-friendly than the madness of the main parade.
Host your own Pride event.
If none of these local events are quiiite your cup of tea, perhaps you could host your own? Hosting an event may not sound like an introvert’s idea of a good time, but hear me out. When you’re the host, you can control who’s there — all the people you already know and like! You can hang out in your slippers at home. You can escape to your room when you need a sec to be alone. In a lot of ways, it’s an ideal way to be social while also maintaining your sanity.
Do some research on rainbow cocktails and desserts, and decide on a fun theme. A group play reading? Game night? Lesbian movie marathon? Sky’s the limit.
Be proud online.
Introverts and social media go together like PB and jelly. If you want to be loud and proud, but the idea of doing so in public makes you cringe from shyness, use social media to your advantage! Put on some glitter and makeup, hold a photo shoot in your bedroom, and share your gorgeously gay self with the world from the privacy of your own home.
Happy Pride socially awkward introverts!