Weed Event Survival Guide for Pot-Loving Introverts and the Socially Anxious

Quiet people have the loudest bud.
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In the weed world, where unity is often celebrated, introverts—those drained by social gatherings with a need to recharge on their own—may often feel overlooked. Depending on your source, anywhere from 16% to over 56% of the population may be an introvert. Yet, why does it feel like 100% of weed events are geared toward extroverts? Are there events catered to both types of people? Are there any events made specifically for introverted people? 

What is an Introvert?

Introversion is a personality trait where individuals find solitude recharging and prefer deep, meaningful social interactions over extensive, surface-level engagement. Sometimes, they prefer solo activities over group settings. Introverts come in various types. Dr. Jonathan Cheek’s STAR model categorizes introverts into four categories:

  • Social Introvert: Prefers small, intimate events. Values alone time. Offers a calming presence in social situations.
  • Thinking Introvert: Quiet but profound. Tendency for getting lost in thought. Prioritizes creativity and ideas over social interaction.
  • Anxious Introvert: Often uncomfortable in large groups. Helps behind the scenes. Often utilizes strategies to manage social anxiety.
  • Restrained Introvert: Guarded but open up. Provides a level-headed and grounding influence in social settings.

Introverts can fall into multiple or all four groups. Introversion is often mistaken for social anxiety, yet the two are distinguishable

Unlike introversion, social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition exemplified by a severe fear of social situations, often leading to physical symptoms, including sweating and rapid heartbeat, and behavioral signs, such as avoiding social gatherings. A fear of rejection of some kind is often the root cause of the issue. 

With the two conditions often confusing, consider taking the MHA’s anxiety screen and/or speaking to a trusted medical professional if you think you have social anxiety disorder. 

Introvert and Social Anxiety Survival Tips

Introverts and social anxiety sufferers alike have developed many techniques and approaches to overcome their feelings of social unease or desire to recharge alone. They include:

Goals, Intentions, and Tactics

Planning seems to work, with respondents telling High Times that introverts can make meaningful new connections and enjoy themselves more if they go into events with a clear agenda, focus, and/or mindset. 

RJ Falcioni, a 24-year event producer who considers himself an ambivert, suggests focusing on quality interactions over quantity. His goal is to engage people warmly, forging connections along the way. However, he remains conscious of his introversion. “I’m also aware of staying too long or getting attached to the safety of one interaction,” he added.

Ben Gilbert, founder of media and events company ALL CAPS and co-founder of the New York Growers Cup, also suggested having a plan or goal in place. “This is particularly true of larger events. They can get overwhelming pretty quickly,” he said, adding that bringing a friend can help someone feel comfortable.

Mike Zaytsev, LIM College‘s academic director of cannabis and founder of the New York City cannabis event series High NY, encouraged everyone to step out of their shell. “Embrace the opportunity to go beyond your comfort zone and grow,” he said while acknowledging that networking events and other gatherings may not be ideal settings. Zaytsev, an introvert, suggested that severe introverts may want to prepare by keeping their energy levels high and clearing their day of any meetings beforehand.

Perspective may not work for everyone. You may struggle to stay calm, possibly even wanting to leave early. Mike Glazer, an LA-based comedian and cannabis advocate, said he likes to keep something in his hands, like a water bottle, joint or lighter, to offset such feelings. 

“It helps keep me grounded, it helps keep me listening, so my fight or flight doesn’t kick in,” Glazer said, adding he’s found success in microdosing psilocybin and MDMA as well. 

Making New Friends

Even an intention-focused introvert may struggle to connect comfortably at events. Several respondents say utilizing particular conversation starters has helped them meet new people. 

Xavier Spencer, a cannabis professional in the finance space, has found success by focusing away from the main activity and instead stepping away to the smokers’ lounge. “My best hack has been taking a smoke break, finding another stoner doing the same, then asking them if they wanna walk the floor together.”

Adam Gardiner, a design and edibles professional, has connected with many people by acknowledging that he probably isn’t the only one feeling uncomfortable in larger, louder, and/or darker weed events. 

“Some of the best ice-breakers I’ve both heard and used are a form of ‘God, this is awkward,'” he said, adding, “Saying it up front seems to have some real friend-making potential.”

Interacting beyond the event can solidify any newly established connections. Scott Brenner, co-founder of the New York-based tasting and education event series Flower Hour, embraces the mindset of exploration. He also suggests having a munchie spot to visit afterward. “If you make some new friends, invite them to go with you!” 

Don’t Force the Vibe

Not every event will have the ideal vibe. This outcome is especially true for introverts who might struggle with the typical cannabis community event trappings, often held in cramped, loud, and overwhelming spaces.

Echoing the early 2000s philosopher Miike Snow’s sentiment, ‘I change shapes just to hide in this place, but… I’m still an animal.’ Meaning, you might be able to fake feeling the vibe for some time, but in the end, you’re going to be the person you are. Or, at least that’s what I got from it. Feel free to leave opposing opinions in the comments, or better yet, don’t. 

While an off-putting feeling may come from within, the room’s vibe may also be the root cause. “Most of the events I attend, frankly I’m ready to leave within 30 minutes,” said Solonje Burnett, founder of the education events brand Weed Auntie. Burnett, an ambivert, said she often finds the atmosphere of most parties unwelcoming due to various factors, ranging from poor acoustics, uncomfortable settings, unbalanced racial or gender representation, and a focus on sales over genuine engagement.

“My entrepreneurship in and outside of the cannabis space is a response to never feeling like I fully belonged,” said Burnett of her Weed Auntie gatherings. Burnett added that she makes events she’d want to attend, including those who are least considered. Her events received praise from other respondents, including Alex Thornton, known in some circles as “The Weed Waiter.” He called Burnett’s events “the blueprint.” 

Are There Introvert-Friendly Weed Events?

There certainly are events for introverts, intentionally designed or not. Cannabis events come in all shapes and sizes, from educational sessions and yoga to creative workshops, tarot readings, infused dinners, and countless more. Even after finding your ideal vibe, energy levels fluctuate and wane. Still, what works for one may not work for the next person. Rather than trying to go with the flow, introverts may find better results engaging events at their pace, understanding that they may need time to recharge during the night, leave early, or sometimes feel the event wasn’t a match as anticipated. 

While the fear of missing out is sometimes natural and powerful, introverts must accept who they are. Being authentic means embracing your traits, such as requiring solitude, selective socialization, and sometimes just being alone. Navigate this scene and all other aspects of life at your comfort. There’s no single path to meaningful participation and connecting. The only way to find your ideal setting is to discover what works for you. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, all this talk of socialization has me jonesing for a blunt walk and a 20-minute nap with my dog.

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