If you’re like me, you’re out and proud, but being loud isn’t really your thing. And as excited as you are about Pride, it also kinda stresses you out.
You’re the person sitting the furthest away from the speakers at drag shows, and you’d rather throw your dollars at the queens’ feet as they’re walking away. You’re the one hiding in the bathroom at the gay club wondering why you let your extrovert friends drag you out of the house at such an unholy (*cues Sam Smith) hour. You’d rather be at home reading TJ Klune or Casey McQuiston novels or catching up on “Our Flag Means Death” and “Golden Girls.”
You’re an introvert. I get it because I’m one too, henny!
So many of the activities around Pride are geared toward extroverts, which has often made me feel like a bad queer since I never have quite as much fun as my whooping, dancing, high-kicking friends. In years past, I’d guilt myself into going, then hide in bed the following week. The tricky part is, I did have some fun — the overwhelm just hit me faster than a Trixie and Katya clapback.
And as much as I don’t want to miss out on Pride celebrations, I’ve had to find some workarounds so I can actually have fun without getting too overstimulated, and over it. Try these tips to practice self-care and make your Pride weekend enjoyable, not just exhausting. No pretending to be extroverts this year, mkay?Plan, plan, plan.
It’s harder to get overwhelmed when you know exactly where you’re going, what you’re doing and how long you’ll be there. I’m talking about planning down to the hour, cuties! And rank the ones you want to do in order from most to least important — that way if something has to get nixed, you can cut it with confidence like that gorgeous woodland lesbian who chops wood with a broadsword (*cough cough* Nicole Coenen).
Look for smaller parties at clubs and bars so you don’t end up at the hottest spot in town, wondering why there’s a line out the door and you suddenly have heart palpitations. No matter how big or small the festivities are, there’s no shame in pregaming with a nap. Jamie Lee Curtis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and she’s thriving. #THRIVING.
Even better, see what the queer-owned coffee shops, bookstores, game cafes, and indie theaters are doing to celebrate Pride. They’ve probably got some lowkey fun or at least some special discounts that will draw other LGBTQ+ introverts out, at least for a little while.Circle your support introverts.
We’ve all got that fabulous group of extrovert friends who are going to try to drag you out at all times of the year, so Pride weekend is the perfect time to enjoy the experience with your fellow introverts. You can agree in advance on which activities seem the most chill (and what your escape plan is if they’re rowdier than you anticipate) and decide what time you expect you’ll want to leave.
Other introverts are more likely to be understanding and not hit you with the old “just one more drink,” followed by “just one more dance,” right before the classic “but we’re having so much fun!” Because you know “one more drink” means a whole platter of rainbow shots, “one more dance” means requesting Beyoncé’s entire discography, and “but we’re having so much fun” means “we ain’t going home till they kick us out with a glittery boot.”Plot your escape.
If you’re in a mixed group of introverts and extroverts or going with all extroverts, plan your escape. If anyone asks if you want to carpool, say, “Not today, Satan!” Carpooling makes you beholden to someone else’s plans, which can delay your getaway.
Even better, let your friends know what time you’re planning on leaving, that way you don’t feel compelled to hunt them down in a crowd to say your farewells. Ever heard of an Irish goodbye? There’s a reason those folks are so lucky, and it’s got nothing to do with four-leaf clovers. Leaving when you feel like it without having to tell everyone bye or make an announcement is the dream.
Have a few excuses in your back pocket in case you need them. Fake sick if you have to. Pro tip: People will ask questions if you say something vague like you’re just not feeling well, but only the truly brave souls will ask you questions if you tell them you have diarrhea. No judgment, and I won’t tell if you won’t. Besides, nervous tummies are real! You can always make a miraculous recovery just in time to do the activity you wanted to do.Prep your survival pack.
You’ve planned out your weekend, you’ve got your introvert entourage, and you’ve had your pregame nap, but now you’re actually there at the Pride celebration. Surrounded by people. Where it’s loud. And late at night. Why’d you agree to this again?
This year, bring earplugs. Whether they’re the cheapies from the drugstore or those fancy reusable ones from the barrage of Instagram ads, they really do make a difference. They dull the music just enough so that it’s tolerable, and they won’t affect conversations with your friends. I mean, when it's super loud, people are going to have to yell in your ear for you to hear anything, anyway. Also, your ears will thank you when you’re a queer elder trying to hear the tap noise on Grindr.
Consider blue light-blocking glasses if you’re headed to the club. Will they actually protect you from the sensory overload of the strobe lights? Hell if I know. It’s like prayer and vitamins: can’t hurt; might help. Even if they don’t actually do anything, the placebo effect might still be useful.
If you get nervous in crowds, CBD gummies are your friend. They’re powerful enough to chill you out yet they’re missing the THC that, in overstimulating circumstances, could send your anxiety skyrocketing. Or if gummies aren’t your bag, there’s always good old-fashioned aromatherapy. Lavender and jasmine scents are said to have calming effects, so stash an essential oil roller in your pocket.