We all have them: friends who enjoy going out and partying, having a grand old time. They love the night life, and Friday night's the best night of the week. Any excuse is an excuse to party.
And that's fine, as long as you don't do something stupid. But it's never been me. I don't know why it is - whether it was growing up in the country and never having the chance to hang out with my peers, or if it's because I've been an introvert as long as I can remember. Even the birthday parties I went to in grade school, I never really fit in, and I'd end up having a conversation (sometimes an enjoyable one, at that) with an adult or something while my friends went off in their little cliques. Even in high school, I didn't hang out in the lunchroom with my acquaintances; I used to have lunch with my accounting teacher, with whom I'd struck up a friendship, in her classroom during her lunch hour.
For whatever reason, my ideas of an enjoyable time consist of (1) either being left alone to read or work on a project, or (2) if I have to go out, sharing a good meal in a quiet restaurant with one or two very close friends. And I think there's something worth examining in the second of those points. I have plenty of friends, but most of those relationships are more on the "acquaintance" end of the scale. They're more like "good buddy" relationships - I'm happy to see them and spend time with them. Maybe a few, I'd really like to add to my inner circle, but that will happen when it's ready to happen because you can't force it.
It's the "inner circle" that, to me, provides the most satisfaction. Those are the people with whom I never have enough time. Those are time-tested relationships, the folks with whom I can talk about most anything, and they can talk about anything with me, and we know we'll never betray each other's confidences. They're the "might as well be family" people. Three hours with them seems to pass in 15 minutes. They're the people for whom I would do anything, at any time of day or night. Being with them never wears me out; if anything, it leaves me feeling better. I'd rather have four or five of those types of friends than 50 "friends."
And that kind of "Feeling better" could never happen if I went out and partied. Not only am I hopelessly square, but I'm an introvert. I don't like small talk, and I can't stand the sort of superficial "oh, hi, nice to meet you" stuff that goes on at these kinds of things. I don't like loud music, except when it's very specific music in very specific applications. I drink sparingly, because I hate the feeling that comes with even a little too much alcohol. I don't like wearing flashy clothes. I'm not interested in the kinds of things they're interested in. And I don't feel the need to feel like I'm 20 again (hell, I acted 40 when I was 20).
Once when I was in grad school I did the club thing one night with a guy I was sort of sweet on. We went to one of the more avant-garde nightspots in town. I think we spent all of 15 minutes there before he gauged I'd had enough. It was among the most uncomfortable 15 minutes I've ever spent. I really felt like I was on another planet. We finally retreated to a slightly quieter but less-hectic nightspot, where we spent the wee hours having cheesecake and Irish coffee, and that was happier.
My friends who like to go out and party keep trying to have me join them, and when I beg off, they can't understand it. Believe me, I appreciate it, and I'm glad they want to include me. But I don't think the understand the kind of wet blanket I'd be, because that world is just not mine and it's just not fun to me. From experience, I know what's going to happen: I'm going to stay just long enough to be polite, probably spending most of that time sitting in a corner watching the scene and quietly snarking to myself, and then at my first opportunity I'll scram. (Then I'll go home, take a shower, have a good night's rest, wake up with a clear head, and reminded why I don't do those kinds of things.)