I’ve been called a “man of few words” enough times in my life to know I’m not the most conversational kid on the playground.

The truth is, most social settings make me feel uneasy. They have this weird way of sucking the life force straight out of my body, like leeches bleeding me dry. You haven’t known real exhaustion until you set foot inside an introvert’s shoes and feel the everyday struggle of forcing on a people-person face in order to get anywhere in society. Not fun at all.

And yet, a socially awkward soul like me has somehow landed with both feet firmly planted in the festival world. Normally, the thought of large congregations of people would make me want to run for the door, but it’s different with the dance music community. Maybe it’s because raves have long been a place of refuge for outliers and eccentrics alike—a safe space for anyone to hoist their quirky personality up the flagpole, without any fear of condemnation, or worse, ridicule. A place where even this tongue-tied guy, regardless of how severely taciturn, could feel right at home.

Being deep and introspective is sort of our thing and chitchat doesn’t rank high on our list of priorities, but that doesn’t mean we systematically turn away friendly faces just because our brains aren’t hardwired to handle small talk.

I’ve spent the last 10 years and some change growing alongside the scene. I’m living proof there’s a spot saved on the dancefloor for any and everyone. Believe it or not, introverts don’t mind crashing a good party or two. Attending them just requires more energy than what’s demanded from our extroverted counterparts. But that alone is not enough to scare us off.

We’ve gotten a bad rap from those who occupy the opposite end of the personality spectrum. Sure, striking up a casual convo with strangers might not always be our idea of a good time, but it in no way makes us a downer. I’m not some sad sack who wants to be slumped somewhere in solitude while the rest of the world gets to live it up. Being deep and introspective is sort of our thing and chitchat doesn’t rank high on our list of priorities, but that doesn’t mean we systematically turn away friendly faces just because our brains aren’t hardwired to handle small talk. And contrary to popular belief, we are capable of settings beyond solo mode. Making friends might get off to rocky start, but once you get past the fumbling words and mixed body language, you could be looking at a lifelong partner-in-crime.

While I don’t think I’ll ever be the social butterfly the default world might expect of me, I am completely comfortable festivaling in my own skin. Rather than look to randos for an ego boost, I’m more inclined to keep to myself at a massive event and have my own personal moment with the music. That’s beauty of our culture: Even quiet thinkers can fit right in with the loud festival life.


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