I had people over this weekend for a night of hanging out and playing retro video games. I’ve mentioned before that this is something I do every few months. It’s always a lot of fun. It’s great seeing friends and reliving childhood memories and introducing younger friends to the popular culture of my childhood.
But sometimes lately I get weird awkward feelings hosting events like this. For one thing, enough people usually show up that I feel like I can’t possibly spend a lot of time with everyone. I don’t like having to leave people out, and I don’t want anyone to feel like they came all the way to my house only to be ignored by the host. At these retro gaming events, I also tend to have a short attention span. I’ll play one game for a while, then jump to another game, then take a break to eat, then jump to another game, and again, that makes me anxious that I’m leaving people behind when I decide to play something else.
I’m pretty sure all of this is in my head. None of my friends have ever told me that they feel neglected when they come to my house. If anything, they tell me how much fun it was and how good it was to see me. Maybe part of the problem is that I wish I could be in all places at once, spending time with everyone at once. Some of the people who come to big events at my house are people I don’t see very often, and when I finally get to see them, I have to divide my attention. I wish I didn’t have to do that. And I wish I could play all the retro games at once. Between my collection and those that friends bring over, there are hundreds of games here, each one providing many hours of involved gameplay.
I think there’s one unifying explanation for what’s happening here, though: my introvert is showing again. Even though I enjoy spending time with my friends, I can’t do it all the time. I get to know people much better one-on-one and in smaller groups. Big groups of friends have their place and time, but I need more than that. And that’s okay. I don’t necessarily have to feel like a bad friend; it’s not possible for anyone to develop deep relationships with all 20 people when 20 people come over for a few hours. I just have to get it out of my head that there’s something wrong with the way I do large groups.