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Not just fun and games

Going to a party isn't a stress-buster. Creating an image is more important than enjoying the bash, writes Malvika Nanda
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 09, 2008 12:03 PM IST

If you thought handling a hangover is the only stress that comes with partying, think again. "You don't have a date, it's stressful. Your date gets drawn to someone else, that adds to the stress. And if you're not invited to the party that everyone's talking about, then you're doomed," says Ankit Rai, a 17year-old college student.

Craving attention
Now that partying isn't restricted to weekends, these problems have only multiplied. Even professionals are falling prey to the big ‘s'.

Even if you get the big invite, there's work to be done. You need to hang out with the right group, and you most certainly cannot be seen repeating your accessories, forget about repeating your clothes.

Creating and living up to an image on the party circuit has become more important than enjoying the bash.

Well, as they say, if you look for anxiety, it'll find you before you find it. Kavish Srivastava, who has just taken his school-leaving exams says: "I knew a guy, who stopped hanging around with his old clique, only to be with the right partying circle."

Although youth is a time for rebellion, these party animals show a strange desire to conform to certain standards. "When you are with a crowd, the norm is to be like them," says Srivastava. "Attention is paramount to some. And when they don't get it, they are upset and feel left out."

Arm candy
However, being an insider doesn't make life any easier. Says Anshum Pant, a second-year student of engineering, "Enjoyment comes with a price tag. Once you are in, you have to organise parties as well. Now that is a big headache. You need to find a farmhouse and then get a licence and make sure all the girls are safe.. the list is endless." Topping the list is money "One . needs to have a flashy car, the best clothes and the prettiest or handsomest date," continues Pant.

"If you have a stunner on your arm, you have to be careful of the other men, not just louts, but other ‘suitable' guys. The last thing you want is to see your girl dancing with someone else."

Party-driven teens are driving their parents up the wall. Ekta Soni, chief clinical psychologist, who handles such cases, says, "Children are pressurising their parents to let them stay out late and even consent to them drinking and smoking. There has to be a fine balance between being stern and letting go." Work it out Soni says discipline, which meets with resistance, can also have an adverse effect on them. "Behavioural issues come up if children don't do what peer pressure dictates. In some cases, it could lead to anger and aggression."

Workplace parties come with their own share of problems. "The idea of an office party is to have a good time. But dealing with bitchy colleagues and gossip the next day is a pain," says Naina Chaudhry, a media professional. "Just because I danced with someone, some of my colleagues insist that I also went home with him," she adds.

No appreciation
Sometimes, office parties cause marital discord, too. Not taking your spouse along for official or other parties is a problem. It affects the excluded one's self-esteem On a slightly less serious note, not receiving compliments or dance requests, have some losing sleep.

"What's the point of putting in so much effort to look good, if you have no one to appreciate it?" asks Ayesha Thakur, a student."You become an object of ridicule if you don't score any hits." Well, we didn't know unwinding could wind you up so much.

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