Party poopers are people that nobody wants around.
By the end of this article you will know exactly what makes someone a party pooper.
Avoid doing the same and you will never be a social reject.
What Is A Party Pooper
A party pooper is an individual who takes value away from people and situations and/or and an individual who brings the mood down.
Taking value away means that a social reject makes the people around him look worse off.
Usually that has to do with the way he looks and/or behaves.
Bringing the mood down instead means that the party pooper injects negativity, curbs the fun and/or introduces topics nobody cares about.
In this article I will use interchangeably the words social burden, social reject and party pooper to identify the same patters of behavior.
Behavior of Social Rejects
And here is how the social rejects manage to make their presence highly unwelcome to any social groups:
1. Poor Hygiene
This is the most obvious.
Nothing sinks the mood of people more than a smelly or dirty individuals.
Bad breath also counts.
Have you ever noticed the scene of drunk people speaking right in the face of some poor fella, with the drunk getting closer and closer while the poor fella backs away?
That’s how social rejects behave when they drink too much.
If you have a tendency for bad breath, carry mints.
If you have braces and food tends to get stuck, carry a toothbrush in the bag or go rinse your mouth from time to time.
2. Terrible Fashion
The better you look, the more welcome you are.
With a few exceptions.
In social relativity we explained that social value is also relative to the group, so looking awesome in a suit might not make you the most welcome guest at a goth party.
But, on average, looking good in any type of attire will still make you more welcome even in very different social groups.
On the other hand, party poopers make people uneasy because they make everyone around them look worse off.
And people don’t want to look bad.
As a rule of thumb the more hipster, narcissistic, vein or fashion-conscious the crowd is, the more your style will matter.
The same principle applies to marketing and product placements BTW.
Here is an example from Sex And The City:
In Samantha’s opinion the “nobody in a tracksuit” carrying the bag devalues the bag. That’s the exact same influence that a poorly dressed social burden devalues his host group.
3. Interrupt Rapt Conversation
Party poopers join groups where people are engaged in deep conversation and are not looking for anyone else to join.
In this case they either get thrown off the bus (example below) or, if the people speaking are too nice to drop him, they will get in and be hated for it.
4. Lower The Mood / Off Sync Irony
If it’s happy go lucky type of party the party pooper usually joins the group with too low energy.
And many social settings tend to be high energy.
People indeed don’t go out to be bummed out and reflect on world troubles usually.
They go out to smile, socialize, meet new people and generally have a good time.
Coming low energy or introducing sad and depressing topics is the stereotypical behavior of the party pooper.
However social burden also display the opposite behavior.
The opposite behavior is trying to liven up the mood too early or at the worst possible moment. Family Guy makes fun of this behavior in its Kool Aid skits.
5. Asking Too Much
The rule of thumb is that the higher up you go in the social hierarchy, beauty or in your level of success, the more people will want a piece of your success (or a piece of you).
That often rubs people the wrong way.
But it’s especially annoying when the social burden have nothing to offer in exchange (theory of social exchange). And people higher up will want to drop them and cut them off.
6. Hovering Around Groups
You know those guys who stand at the fringes of your group or your conversation, hoping against hope to be introduced and they never go away?
Those are great examples of social rejects.
They don’t understand that they are not welcome and make everyone in the group feel awkward for forcing them to make him look like an idiot.
How do you avoid this?
Only approach groups which are open to you.
If you stand near them and they don’t welcome you or if you are standing near and there is no pause in the conversation for you to join, then keep moving.
A great option to look around for people to talk to is to stand at the edge of a social gathering in a corner where people cannot see you. From there observe who is open to to new people and then go say hi (learn body language to make this easier).
7. Awkward Comments
There is a million ways to make things awkward and putting people on the spot and I cannot give you them all here.
Many of them include discussing socially what is not supposed to be said, asked or done in social settings.
However some examples are:
- Asking a girl out in front of a group
- Revealing someone’s secret
- Mean jokes about someone in the group
- Direct intimate questions
- Sexual advances to someone in the group
- Revealing someone’s group crush (especially if the crush is in the group)
Here’s an example from 500 Days of Summer:
- Handling awkward social situations
- Defending people from social assault
- Handling a drama queen in public
8. Not Taking Hints
Here’s a quick story to show what I mean by party poopers not taking hints:
I remember many years ago.
It was a hot summer day in Italy.
One girl, let’s call her Summer was in the car talking and making out with a local older guy. Her girlfriend stayed with me, a friend of mine and a friend of the guy in the car.
Let’s call him Smart.
Smart kept asking me and my friend what we were up to and what we were going to do.
That seemed a strange question but we didn’t make anything out of it.
He asked again soon later, and then he said he should probably get going.
But he stayed there.
Then he finally lured us away and told us if we could please go and leave him along with the girl.
Me and my friend were not taking the hints that we should have left the two of them alone.
Talking about a social burden becoming a sexual burden :).
Well, at least we had the benefit of a young age.
Many people though never really understand that there are times when one should just leave.
It can be two friends who want to have their own conversation.
Or two lovers who want to move forward.
When in doubt: ask or leave.
If they answer something along the lines of “it’s cool”, they are being nice and they want you to go.
And if you just leave, you can’t be too wrong.
The interviewer of Robert Downey Junior doesn’t realize that the interview is being a slow motion crash. Just cannot get the hints:
9. Trying Too Hard
Trying too hard is one of the most obvious social blunders of the social rejects.
It can take many forms, including:
- Not enjoying the group’s irony but still trying to crack jokes
- Pretending to know what they’re talking about
- Not sharing the group’s culture but trying anyway to fit any
- Interjecting with nothing of value (or with value-taking comments)
As a rule of thumb, when you have nothing of value to add, you are usually better listening, nodding and asking questions than to try and say anything.
And when you just don’t fit in the group you are usually better off to move along.
Remember: the long term solution to a happy social life is finding groups where you can be yourself and where you’re accepted for who you are instead of trying to fit in with groups where you don’t belong to.
This scene from Gran Torino is a good example of a social reject trying too hard. In a social situation he might not be assaulted quite like that, but most people will think he’s an idiot nonetheless.
10. The Socially Inept
Finally, this last category of party poopers encompasses the whole category of the socially oblivious and socially challenged.
These are the far too common guys who:
- Stick with the same person far too long
- Talk for way too long
- Tell flat stories that have no punch lines
- Talk about themselves too much
- Takes over the group and takes it nowhere
- Zoom in one single person making it awkward for everyone
You can read of some examples on this article on group conversation.
Party poopers do two things:
- Bring down the mood
- Take away social value
In this article we reviewed the most typical behaviors with which social burdens make socializing worst off for everyone.
Avoid these behaviors, and you will never be a party pooper in your life.