In To Kill a Mockingbird, Dill and Boo Radley have quite the love/hate relationship. Dill wants nothing more than to get Boo Radley to come out of the house, and — spoiler alert — it’s gonna take a heck of a lot for Boo to ditch his sweet digs. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want nothing more than to pull a Boo and curl up with some Chinese food, the last season of Supernatural, and the town’s fear-fueled rumors tucked under my arm like a fluffy pillow. But other times, I kind of want to be a Dill. I’ll want to drag my friends out by their ankles, throw them into the nearest diner, and tell them to carb the heck up before a midnight screening and a moonlit sand-fight at the beach.
I can’t be alone in this. Is it just me? It can’t be. I mean, we’re all hormonal young adults here. We change our minds constantly. We’re fickle and annoying.
Heh. Or maybe this really is just about me. . .
Anyhow, it can be a little tough when you’re the friend who wants to go out and raise a riot — like Dill — and it seems like none of your other friends — like Boo — are feeling it. Or, vice versa. Thankfully, I’m the strangest semi-social butterfly you’ll ever meet, so I’m here to help.
1. If your friends don’t want to go out with you, don’t take it too personally.
I mean, you can take it personally to a degree. Maybe you forgot to shower, and you’re attracting the majority of the flies in the county. If that’s the case, no one can really blame your friends. But, if it’s been a long day, or a long week, and school or work has left your friends kinda brain-dead, then I think staying in instead of going out might actually be better for them. Plus, a battery recharge can actually make going out the next night much more fun. And who said a Harry Potter movie marathon, takeout, and face painting can’t be fun?
2. On that note, for our 21-and-up readers:
If you or your friends enjoy responsibly partaking in beverages of the alcoholic kind, and that’s what “going out” means, you can still drink without going outside. Crazy idea, right? And sometimes it’s more fun. You can make up your own drinking games, you don’t have to worry about driving anywhere, and you can get tipsy in your PJs. So if drinking is the deciding factor about going out or staying in, consider the many possibilities.
3. If everyone else wants to go out, and you don’t, that’s okay.
Like I said before, everyone needs a recharge, and people recharge in different ways. Don’t feel pressure to go out if all your friends are going. My mom used to really harp on me about this, so eventually I just explained to her that I knew I would only have fun if I actually wanted to go and that I would have a better night if I did what I wanted to do — not what everyone else wanted me to do. If what I want to do is sit with my face in some pad thai and with my eyes glued to an old episode of Doctor Who, then I’ll do that, and if I want to get dressed up, look heckin’ fine, and hit the town with my friends, then I’ll do that. I’ll get cliché with you: Life is way too short to not do the stuff that makes you happy, even if it’s just a few hours worth of happiness and it might tick off your mom a little.
This isn’t to give you a reason to never go out with your friends, because if you stay in every single time, that’s not too great. That’s where ostracization and self-doubt kick in, and you don’t want either of those things in your life. If you constantly psych yourself out of going, you’ll start building a barrier between you and your friends. So try. You don’t have to go every time, especially if going out isn’t your favorite thing, but if you don’t take the opportunity to spend time with your friends, you’ll regret it. Friendship — and relationships in every part of life — is all about give and take. If these friends are good, real friends, they’ll understand that and give you something in return, like one of those movie marathons.
4. If you want to go out and no one else does, that’s okay.
Y’know, when it comes to friend groups, majority usually rules, and not always in your favor. Like it or not, that’s just how things work. So, consider staying in. You can toy with the idea of going out with other people, but going out alone is just really not fun — and it’s not too safe if you plan on drinking. You won’t be able to enjoy yourself if you know that the majority of your friends are having a movie-and-pizza night without you. Like I said, give and take. It’s cool to sit one Friday night out. Besides, there’s always Saturday night.
5. Speak up!
If you feel like your group is always doing what only one person wants to do, and you or others don’t necessarily get a word in, say something! You can do this in a pretty low-key way, and it doesn’t have to be dramatic or mean. Just be honest, and try not to gang-up on the others. If you guys get sick of going out, stay in. If you get sick of staying in, go out. Don’t make these things more complicated than they have to be!
Maybe this was a bit of a stretch with the TKAM metaphor, but after watching a couple of my friends struggle to find balance in their groups, I think it’s something that’s good to think about and be aware of. The most important thing is to know yourself and what you want and to be confident about vocalizing it. You won’t regret it, I swear.