Your friends call you to go out and you don’t even look at your phone. It’s not that you don’t like them, it’s just that even to acknowledge the things they’re saying would make you feel guilty and uncomfortable. You’d rather listen to the sound of your vibrating phone and wait until it’s over than see the words which have actually been written to you. You know what it’s going to say — “Hey, we’re all meeting up at the bar at nine, wanna come out?” No, you don’t want to go out, and you’re tired of explaining it.
It’s not that you’re sad. In fact, you’re happier than you’ve been in recent memory. You’re just not interested in doing things socially just for the sake of doing them. You like being by yourself, or maybe inviting a friend over for a movie, and getting to bed at a reasonable hour. And you know that announcing your desire to go to sleep would result in a million cries of “Oh, come on, don’t be so lame.” The thing is, you’re not sure if you’re lame or not by wanting to go to sleep early and not get drunk. You very well might be, but no amount of embarrassment is going to get you out of your apartment.
You sometimes wonder about the things you’re missing, the people who are doing things without you, developing friendship and accumulating memories. The desire to join them occasionally wells up in you and spills over into actual social interaction — you join for a few drinks, you stay out for a while, you laugh with the jokes and catch up on the stories you’ve missed. And you can enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with it. But the more pressing truth seems to be that you’ve grown out of something which you cannot quite identify. You love seeing everyone, you love learning new things, but you may not experience it in the same way you once did.
Your stamina, your ability to get wasted and consider it a real diversion, your desire to meet people in embarrassing circumstances which you might not remember the next morning, are all waning as you decide that you want to construct things during the day. You’ve always been told that maturing into a time when partying is no longer your go-to activity makes you something of a boring person, a certified adult — but you can no longer force yourself to be interested in the same things as all your other friends.
Sometimes you worry about what it would mean to be the “lame” one, to no longer be the last to leave a party or even be interested in meeting at the bar. You get frustrated at the automatic division amongst a group of people as “cool” or “no longer cool,” strictly judged on how much alcohol you intake or how long you stay out at night. You have moments of seeing yourself older and no longer fun, long-since slipped into a routine of a bit of television before bed, but you aren’t as scared of it as you are of being a person you’re no longer interested in being just to please everyone else. You’d rather ignore your phone, you’ve decided, than go along with a group who isn’t interested in finding a pleasant middle-ground.
You know that they’re probably saying something about you. They’re saying that you’re not as fun as you used to be, that you don’t know how to party, that you’re always at home. And though the feeling of being talked about behind one’s back is never pleasant, you at least know that it’s true. You’re the “lame friend,” and that’s okay with you.