1 Jun 2022

Platinum Party-Pooper? How to navigate the Jubilee weekend

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations are looming this weekend and the entire country is en fête. Our streets are bedecked with bunting, street parties are planned and the supermarkets are overflowing with Jubilee-themed treats.

But what do you do if the prospect leaves you cold? While millions of us will be embracing the celebrations with enthusiasm, millions will feel daunted, disgruntled or excluded by the proceedings. We have to accept that not everyone is an enthusiast, who eagerly embraces high days and holidays, dons fancy dress costumes at the drop of a hat, enjoys nothing more than festooning the house with themed decorations and cooking celebratory dishes.

People who do not enjoy joining in these exuberant celebrations are often dismissed as ‘party poopers’, sour-faced non-participants who lurk on the periphery at festivities, spoiling the day for the rest of us. But this characterisation is obviously unfair. We all have different ways of socialising and celebrating, and some of us are self-contained introverts, who find mass partying intimidating and depressing.

There should be room for everybody to behave on these occasions as they choose; it just takes good manners and a spirit of tolerance and acceptance:

How to avoid looking like a Killjoy

• It’s quite possible that you will find yourself surrounded by people who love events like the Jubilee. If that is the case, and you feel your non-participation would really hurt the feelings of people you care about, then you must accept that you need to make a conscious effort for their sake, and join in the celebrations with good grace.

• If you do find yourself unwillingly participating, then you will have to be very careful to moderate your behaviour. Don’t spend the day in a quiet corner, looking at your mobile phone or your watch. Make a conscious effort to eat heartily, chat convivially, participate in the party games and thank your hosts effusively. It might feel like a strain, but you will be able to congratulate yourself on the fact that you have not let people down.

• If you feel that toeing the line is beyond you, act decisively and don’t attend – a non-show is far preferable to putting in a moody and dispiriting appearance. Politely decline the invitation, and if it at all possible, explain the reason why. If you actually admit that you’re not comfortable at parties, that you find them a great strain, or that you find organised public events overwhelming, then you are taking the burden of your non-appearance on yourself, and your host will not feel hurt or rejected. This is the polite thing to do.

How to Handle a Party Refusenik

• If you are an enthusiastic party-goer or host and you’re confronted with an unwilling participant, accept their stance graciously – remember an unwillingness to wear a hat, wave a flag, knock up a dish of coronation chicken and join in a sack race, does not indicate that a person has a questionable character. It just demonstrates that this is not their thing and everybody is different.

• Don’t force conviviality on refuseniks. If you’re aware that somebody is making a big effort to attend a party, remember that they may find the more gregarious antics daunting. Allow them to navigate the celebrations on their own terms, and don’t turn into a manic cheerleader, who’s always propelling them into the social fray. If they want some time out, or they’re enjoying a quiet one-to-one conversation, leave them be. Part of being a good host is embracing the idiosyncrasies and foibles of all your guests.

• If a refusenik turns down your invitation, with or without an explanation, accept it. Don’t hector or harangue them, just acknowledge that not everybody is as sociable as you are, and don’t take it personally. If you concede that some people are simply happier having a quiet drink with a couple of friends, you will be able to enjoy your own celebrations, free from any anxiety that other people are missing out.


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