Parties are something that most people with at least a shred of extroversion look forward to. Even I, with my combination of introversion and social reclusiveness lurking in the background, look forward to parties as special gatherings where you find may find avenues for conversation that won't be available in a much more intimate setting.
Three weeks back, J had his birthday party at his apartment. There were about 15 people invited to make merry on the occasion. I was, as is usual in such situations, caught in a dilemma as to how long I should spend time with an individual or a group of individuals in conversations. I guess I want to be always on the move, thanks to a a mixture of my overenthusiastic host-itude, interest to explore options, and my hesitation to expose myself in in-depth conversations.
So I took the opportunity to carry around trays of the famous J cheese/onion dip and the assorted chips that go with it. This gave me options to introduce myself to strangers with warm introductions "Hey, would you like to try some of this? This is the dip that you keep hearing about." This would followed by the obligatory "Oh, you are so kind to bring it to us" and "Oh, wow. This is a very nice dip indeed" comments. Perfect social lubrication, if you ask me.
After hanging out with any particular group for a couple of minutes, I found that it's easy to slither out and seek another group and repeat the social rewards and positive reinforcement. Of course, I also used lines like "Can I pour you another drink?" to repeat the exercise of pleasantly detaching myself from conversations and getting these social rewards in return.
At the end of the night, during a conversation with J, I realized that I had hardly spent any time with people who might have wanted to spend more time with me. People from my workplace were all together in a group, which I paid as little/much attention to that I did to other groups.
I don't often feel like I need to meet people (even my friends) and have conversations with them. In fact, many people, including my dearest friends, have expressed their disappointment at how I don't make time for them. However, on occasions such as this, I often am able to assign myself a purpose/role (as a host and a nice guy), and thus am able to lubricate/sugarcoat these otherwise-daunting interactions.
During and after such parties, I am able to convince myself that spending time with these people is fun. This makes me ephemerally wish that I would have a more prolonged interactions with them at the party on other social occasions. But when it comes to executing this, I make myself so busy with other things that I hardly ever get myself involved in such situations.
Welcome to my mind. It's confusing, I agree. But that's how it works.