Spent the evening at Paul & Jenna's yesterday. Kind of a tough choice, since we were also invited to an end-of-summer party with lots of church friends, but A) it's always fun to hang out with Paul & Jenna, and 2) hanging with church folks in larger groups often feels like work to me, especially on Saturday nights (with Sunday morning so soon on its way). It's easy for me to assign the latter feeling to the "grumpy old man" category, but when I really think about it, the picture becomes more clear:
- I'm an introvert, so bigger gatherings always take more from me.
- That kind of thing is also often filled with small talk, another thing that's not a favorite. I need to use as much small-talk energy as I can muster each Sunday morning (I often go over what other people are going to want to talk about—weather, sports, current events, etc.—before work starts, because I find most of it mind-numbingly boring, but it's what others want), so I don't need to be depleting it the night before.
- Sometimes there are games. Yeesh.
- Other than the small talk, what most church people know how to talk with me about is, not surprisingly, work. It's possible some of that would change if I spent more time with them, but a party isn't a good venue for that and has too broad of an audience than can realistically know me well anyway.
- I do like smaller gatherings—having dinner together, etc. When I thought of having dinner with nearly anyone I might chat with at a party, I realized I would probably enjoy that. This was really helpful, as that realization countered my internal accusation that I "just don't like people."