An introvert’s guide to frat parties

How to survive being dragged out to The Row when you’d rather just be in bed

It’s Friday night. You just finished a long terrible week of schooling. Now you can finally let loose and have fun. And by that, of course, I mean put on your sweatpants, make a cup of tea and catch up on New GirlBut just as you cozy into you bed, you get a text from your friend, “theres a (insert frat here) party tonite. Lets go!!1!1!”

Presenting humanity’s greatest paradox: the introvert with FOMO. You really don’t like going out, because it is so draining. But you also figure you should be functioning college youth and be social. It’s a constant struggle. So here are some tips for introverts on surviving a frat party.

Mental Prep

First of all, you must give yourself enough time before you go out to fully charge your social battery. Watch some Netflix, read a book, take a nap, whatever. Just make sure that you have quiet alone time before your throw yourself into the rowdy beast that is a frat party.

This also gives you time for a little pep talk. This is hard. But tell yourself that it’s only going to be a few hours out for one night this weekend. You can even set a little goal for yourself: Like to meet at least one new person, or allow yourself ONLY three witty and totally accurate complaints.

The Outfit

OK, you’re (kinda) pumped up. Now for clothing. Dress comfortably. Tugging at an uncomfortable outfit is just one more thing you will be complaining about. So skip anything tight, short, or that you will be too cold or hot in. (Unless that is what you feel most comfortable in, then go for it!) You are going out for you, so you are the only person you need to dress for.

Side-Note: Make sure you snack up before hand. The social interaction is already going to be annoying, you don’t need to add hanger to the list. Also, you could make plans to get food after. This might come in handy as an escape plan later on.

Your Crew

So now it is finally time to go out. You probably have that one social butterfly friend who is the foil to your anti-social caterpillar vibe. These friends probably know all the details about what’s going on on the Row.

Besides finding the parties, your extroverted friends are great to hang around when you are at the actual party. As a classic introvert, you will probably end up clinging to them the at least in the beginning– following them around and awkwardly standing behind them with wandering eyes as they hug other people they know. However, this can also be a good thing. These friends can attract any attention you don’t want and can strike up conversations with new people. 


Stick with these friends throughout the night, but if you get separated among the sea of people, don’t panic. You’re fine being alone for a little while because, let’s face it, the vast world that resides inside your own head will keep you occupied.  

It’s also good to find somewhere to go if you need a break from the party. The bathroom is usually a good excuse to remove yourself, though it can be difficult to find and there is usually a line. But still, it offers some sort of respite from the chaos: it’s quieter and more isolated, with only slightly better lighting. Take a few minutes for a mini-recharge before going back into the madness. Take a mirror selfie.

Party Themes

While many girls will pick out outfits that correlate to the theme, don’t feel obligated to. It might feel overwhelming to try to construct a themed outfit that hits a sweet spot between clever and cute. But there is a fine line between totally nailing it and showing up like Cady at Aaron’s Halloween party in Mean GirlsAgain, wear something comfortable. And I guarantee, no one will even care that you are just wearing a plain black tank top with old boots

Find Some Liquid Courage

Not everyone likes to drink and it is totally possible to have fun while 100% sober. However, contrary to what your D.A.R.E. officer told you in fifth grade, sometimes, you do need alcohol to have fun. You don’t necessarily have to get black-out drunk. But sometimes, a few drinks can help make you hate everything a little bit less.

Not-So-Small Talk

Now it may happen that someone actually tries to talk to you. I know, cue the fight-or-flight instincts. But you knew this was a possibility.

If you are in a group, just look like you’re super interested in whatever they are discussing. Silently sip your drink, bop to the music and occasionally survey the room pretending to look for someone you know (which we all know is a lie because, you only have like four friends and they are all with you right now). And when all else fails, just smile and nod. If you are one-on-one, some go-to convo starters are: “What’s your major?” and “Where are you from?” You can ask a lot of follow up questions, especially if you feign interest, and maybe, if you’re lucky, find something you have in common. (Score!)

If you really don’t want to talk to this person, there are some easy ways to escape the trap. If the music is loud, just look confused and say “what?” really loudly a few times. If you are on line for the bathroom and feel cornered, just answer them in a disengaged manner, looking away, and giving one word responses. You could also just ignore them. They are probably too drunk to notice if you are being rude and you will probably never see them again.

Exit Strategy

A very important aspect to going out as an introvert is knowing when you need to leave. You should try to stick it out for at least an hour so that you didn’t expend all this effort for nothing. As mentioned before, suggesting to get food can be a very convincing exit plan, especially if your friends are wasted, and McDonald’s is only a few stumbling steps away. But you can also just decide to go right home. I know that the general rule of thumb for going out is to never leave alone, but with fruber and the yellow jackets all around campus, going home by yourself is a pretty safe bet.

Home at Last

When you are finally home, do your nightly routine, throw on your sweats and get right into bed. Remember this feeling for next weekend when you are laying in bed with no pants on contemplating whether going out is worth all the effort!

University of Southern California