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Is Dating the ‘Life of the Party’ a Bad Idea?

After reading the title of this article, you instantly know who I’m talking about. The so-called life of the party exists in every town and city across the globe, and a few characteristics neatly define them. The life of the party: always looks fun, upbeat and happy; is gregarious and has social skills that could put a senator to shame; is extroverted and craves social interaction with groups; and is often both physically and emotionally appealing on the surface.

Given this constellation of traits and behaviors, what’s it like to date the life of the party? Moreover, what’s it like to have a long-term monogamous relationship with said person? If the answer were a headline in a newspaper (remember those?), it would read “Definite Costs and Benefits.” In other words, there are major advantages and disadvantages to dating the life of the party, and I’ll give comprehensive examples of both.

The advantages of dating the life of the party

Their social skills are exceptional. If there were a school for social skills, these individuals didn’t just graduate; they were Class President, Valedictorian and voted Most Likely to Succeed. Social settings are where these men and women flourish. They can talk to anyone and put the most anxious individuals at ease. These men and women are highly attuned to the personalities and emotional needs of others, and they thrive when interacting with large groups.

They are positive and hopeful, and they don’t dwell on anything negative. We could all use a little more optimism in our lives, right? Each of us has enough challenges or problems to deal with that a dose of positive energy can be extremely helpful in our daily lives. When you date someone who’s the life of the party, you can spend practically every day around that good cheer!

The disadvantages of dating the life of the party

Sometimes you’ll wish it were just the two of you. While dating someone with so many social gifts is unquestionably fun and exciting at times, it can also be a little exhausting. The life of the party, by definition, is always looking for a, uh, party, and parties and group gatherings can be wonderful. But most men and women like a fair amount of “down” time, or time to regroup and chill. If you date the life of the party, there will probably be a number of times in the future when you wish it were just the two of you, but others somehow are always invited to join.

The life of the party doesn’t act like the life of the party all the time. In many cases, the life of the party explodes onto a social scene with energy that could lift off a rocket. Yet the life of the party can’t keep up that kind of energy all day long. This means that social groups may get the best, most fun version of your date, while you see the quieter, more withdrawn side of your date behind closed doors. People often feel like there are two different sides to the life-of-the-party personality, and they sometimes wish the person they were dating just had one of those sides.
Certain types can be happy in a relationship with the life of the party – but only certain types.

Let me be clear: while the life of the party is not for everyone, there are scores of men and women who could be perfectly fine and happy in a relationship with this type of personality. If you’re going to date the life of the party happily, you can’t need to be the center of attention; you won’t care if most people seem more interested in talking to your date than you in a group setting; you can’t be insecure; you can’t be controlling; and you can’t be a jealous type. The person who fits well with the life of the party is someone who is patient, independent and easygoing.

Drawing boundaries with the life of the party is crucial to making the relationship work.

Because the life of the party is so social, individuals who date this type of personality will need to draw boundaries from time to time. Specifically, you may occasionally need to say, “Tonight for dinner, I would like to spend some quiet, one-on-one time with you.” On vacation, for example, you may want to draw a boundary about the days when you have one-on-one time and the days when you are open to engaging in group activities. For instance, say, “If it’s okay, I’d like to have one day where it’s just you and me.” If you draw boundaries and make sure that you get the one-on-one time you need with your partner, you can potentially have a long-lasting, happy relationship with the life of the party.

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lgAbout the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.