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Statistical anomaly or social ineptness?
sword
tiger_spot
Board games yesterday were lots of fun. Yay board games, thank you people who came.

However, the gender composition of the group that actually turned up was a bit weird, statistically speaking.



The people invited to this particular event were mostly people I had some reason to believe either (1) liked board games or (2) were up for a bit of social interaction. In this particular case, that was mostly members of my major social circle and folks from the Google Wednesday night board games group, with a few extras here and there.

Invited:
men: 9
women: 8

Said they couldn't make it:
men: 1
women: 1

Were visibly enthusiastic (requested invitation upon more general mention, said they would probably come, etc.):
men: 3
women: 3

Actually came:
men: 5
women: 1

While I did just say this was a bit weird statistically speaking, really it's not if the statistics in question are "Who goes to parties at my place?" Most social gatherings I host come out like this, with roughly gender-equal invitation lists and actual attendees who skew mostly male. What I would like to know is:

1. Why?

2. Why do other people's parties I go to seem to be either roughly even or skewed female?

I have two, opposite, theories. First, it could be that for whatever reason the women I know tend to be really social / generally busy, and have lots of invitations or plans to deal with, so by the time I ask them to do anything they are wiped out and have no energy left to enjoy it, whereas the guys all have less to do and therefore accept my invitations because they don't have any conflicting plans. Or, the other way around, the groups could be equally busy but through whatever random statistical chance the men have more social energy to spend so are more likely to accept invitations. (In both of these cases, the more even / skewed female distribution at other people's parties is explained by "They like the other people better than me." Or, more specifically, that they like the other people's parties better than mine, and that there is therefore some sort of party-holding skill or skills I am missing or deficient in.)

I realize that I am this close --> <-- to asking the dumbest question in the world (which is of course "What do women want?"), but. Women who happen to be reading this, and more-or-less local and more-or-less in my various social circles: Why do I mostly see you online? The people about whom I think most often "Hey, I should spend more time with X," are (a) mostly female and (b) mostly reading this, so... hi! We should hang out some time!
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(Deleted comment)
The fact that I was considering coming at all speaks volumes about how much I actually like you and your party-holding skills, since I actually dislike games pretty notably.

That I did not know.

Thank you for the compliment!

I should add to my other response that while I like games, I don't like playing them with people who get really deeply into the puzzle-solving sorts of aspects (just not my bag, and it's not fun for me if people aren't on roughly the same page in their approaches), and so any event that involves a significant number of Google engineers is probably not one at which I'll be playing games. :-)

I'm an introvert, and it takes serious energy to get me out of the house. Since I'd gotten out of the house the day before (and was having some relationship trouble that was keeping me sad and weepy), I just plain didn't have the energy.

(posting from loracs's computer)

Re: oops, that was me

Oh dear, I hope the relationship trouble is properly in the past tense now.

(Also I hope I didn't make you [or anybody else] feel guilty about not coming to things; I don't want anybody to come to events they don't have the energy for or won't enjoy. I just think it's weird that it's so strongly gender-linked, and I'm curious whether that's a big societal thing, or just the people I happen to know, or something about me that affects the kinds of people I'm likely to meet, or what; and whether it's something I can fix, and if so how; and if it's something I can fix, whether it's something I should fix.)

Re: oops, that was me

I don't know about anyone else, but I didn't feel guilted. You're doing the kind of geeking that I enjoy. :-)

(And the relationship stuff is better. Not fixed, but I'm not carrying it all inside me any more. Thanks.)

You probably already know my answer

But since you asked... I'm extremely introverted and in general have no energy for parties. Several factors that usually affect my attendance:

1- How big is the group? If I'm feeling pretty social I'm more likely to attend if it's a small group that I can interact and talk with. If I'm /not/ feeling social, I'm more likely to attend if it's a big group and I can hide.

2- How many people will I know? I tend to be completely overwhelmed by large numbers of people I don't know. I will find the closest familiar person whom I'm confident likes me and cling desperately. I do like meeting new people, just in fairly small doses. I like to be able to talk to someone new, get to know them while having an anchor of people who do know me and like me. That is opposed to needing to have "social" chitchat with people I've never met before.

3- Is it a event thingy or a party? Is it a group of people getting together to do something, or to talk and hang out? If they're doing something I don't enjoy, is it ok if I bring my sewing instead? Sometimes that annoys people. I don't enjoy costume parties for personal reasons so is it ok if I come in my usual dress?

I love going to see movies with groups of other people, especially if there is room for discussion before and/or afterward.

I don't enjoy playing games for a large number of very good reasons. I will sometimes be in the right frame of mind to enjoy playing, but usually not. I do, however; enjoy watching other people play games while I sew and talk. The talking is pretty important though, if the group in question is going to be /really/ involved in the game and not interested in chatting about other stuff, I'm likely to feel ignored and in the way.
----

Of course these also tend to interact strangely with my various levels of energy and socialness. My attendance can often seem random, though I always appreciate the invitation, especially as I tend to isolate myself sometimes. (I didn't come last night due to my nerves being in a state from the plane clausterphobia, I wasn't a fun person to be around, trust me.)

Re: You probably already know my answer

Gah, sorry that was so long.

Re: You probably already know my answer

No, long is good! Rah rah yay, information!

Re: You probably already know my answer

Yes, I wasn't expecting you to come, what with the airplane and all. Actually, I was a bit surprised Brooks turned up; travelling usually leaves me pretty much brain-dead.

In case there's any question, it is always okay if you want to bring sewing and talk (or bring sewing and not talk -- we have a comfy chair upstairs which is excellent for fleeing loud things). And I don't think I've ever held a costume party in my life, but I have no objections to the costumeless in the event I ever do.

I don't like large numbers of people I don't know either. It's worse when they all know each other already, because then I feel like I'm interrupting something if I try to get involved in any conversations.

Given that I was the one woman who said I couldn't make it, what can I say about this? =)

Seriously, for me it's not a lack of inclination to game (although I have been somewhat gamed out lately) or a lack of desire for your company or that of your friends... I seem to keep acquiring social circles here that narrowly intersect each other, and of the majority of my friends here in the Bay Area, I've lived here nearly the longest. So I have a lot of friends in the area, and they're highly social, and I can seldom make more than two events in a weekend... You see how it goes? Also, I'm an introvert, so gatherings where I'm likely to be confronted with a higher percentage of folks I don't already know give me the willies.

That said, I did wish I could be there this weekend. I'm trying to cultivate more friends in the south bay and lower peninsula, to prevent the hour-plus drives necessary to see many of my other friends in the area.

I don't have any clues about the "Why?", but our game days often skew female. On the other hand, the standing list of men who you can count on to be there is higher, whereas we have more potential women attendees, but few "sure-things". As such, if we get an unusually small turnout, it often skews male, because all the "sure-things" show up but nobody else does. I don't have a ready explanation for that, but it does line up a bit with the idea that women are often socially busier, so the men are more likely to have a given proposed time slot free.

Other people touched on my reasons: Introvert who socializes too much, and parties where I don't know who's going to be there and what sort of gaming is involved are extra effort for me, and I only like cooperative gaming. Another reason - less relevant in this case because you did email me an invite on request - is that I'm sometimes not sure whether an invite on LJ counts as actually wanting me to come.

I usually interpret an LJ-invite I can see as "I wouldn't mind if you showed up, but I'm not particularly hoping for your presence and won't be disappointed if you don't come."

I'm one of the never-responded folks--I'm sorry about that. I tend to deal with scheduling things by (a) not thinking about them until the last minute, and then (b) not doing them. So I'm perfectly terrible about sending "no" responses.

As to why you mostly see me online, I suspect I am anomalous, because nearly everyone I socialize with mostly sees me online--blame the two-primaries-plus-law-school juggling act. I particularly don't tend to show up to parties, though, which is basically because I don't tend to have fun at them these days. I think that's in part because I have a lot of trouble staying engaged in conversations in most groups--lack of interests in common with most of the people I know, maybe, plus probably some conversational-style issues. None of which seems particularly gendered, so it probably will not help you understand where the trend is coming from.

For what it's worth, my social circle is overwhelmingly male-dominated, and I believe my parties tend to be as well, so it is at least not just you that this happens to. Though my invitation lists are skewed in that direction too, so maybe that is not useful data.

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