67 Questions Your Neurodivergent and Socially Anxious Friend Has About Your Party

I am a socially anxious person. I’m the kind of person who before I go to an event, I have looked on google maps to not only confirm an address but also to have a satellite-level view of both the location and the cross streets. And then I do a turn-by-turn walk through of the directions on how to get there before I ever get in a car. I will look up a restaurant menu and make sure there’s something I can eat (I never outgrew being a childhood “picky eater”) before I agree to come out with you for dinner. If there is nothing I can eat, I will plan to make a peanut butter and jelly before hand, so that I can enjoy your company and not go hungry. I won’t say that outlaid that I’ve “practiced small talk” before a party if I knew I’d be the only one I knew there but also… I haven’t not not done that. I need details, I need plans, I then need plan Bs and Cs. I need a parachute and then also a trampoline if I’m going to jump out of a plane. (The plane, in this instance, is socializing.)

It’s (un)officially the first weekend of summer, and so there’s no better time to unleash my super power: Thinking of every possible question, from every single humanly possible angle, that I’ll most certainly have before agreeing to go to your party. I recruited fellow anxiety-havers Riese and Nico to join me in my brainstorming, and away we go!

67 Questions Your Neurodivergent and Socially Anxious Friend Has About Your Party

1. Is this the kind of party where I can expect to hang with you, the host, or is it the kind of party where I’ll get to talk to you for like 10 minutes, and then I’ll have to either know other people and/or make my way on my own for the rest of the night?

2. Is this address actually your home?

3. Can I text you if I have trouble finding it?

4. What time will people actually be showing up and how close will that be to this start time you’re telling me?

5. Will you text me your ETA exactly when you leave your house, so that I can time mine accordingly?

6. How many people will be there?

7. How many people (that I actually know) will be there?

8. Will my ex be there?

9. Will my ex’s best friend be there, potentially perceiving me and reporting back to my ex with updates on my life?

10. Will that specific person I’m avoiding because I made that one joke the last time we all hung together, but they didn’t laugh, so now I’m just constantly reliving it because my brain will not stop replaying this mortal coil, over and over again, also be there?

11. What time will this party end?

12. If I decide to leave early, will I be leaving alone?

13. Will there be a large enough crowd that if I decide to leave early, it won’t be awkward?

14. If I decide to drive, what’s the parking situation?

15. What’s the closest public transportation routes?

16. Do you know if anybody’s going who lives near me?

17. Are they taking an Uber or driving?

18. Would it be weird if I asked them if they wanted to carpool?

19. Are there any activities or games planned during the party?

20. For Scrabble, are you using a stackable board, a board that swivels, or a classic edition — not because I’m going to practice first at home or anything…

21. Will there be any activities require that I, at any point, be required to sing, dance, or speak publicly?

22. Will everybody be dancing?

23. Will it be on a dance floor?

24. Will there be a place to hang out if you are not dancing?

25. Will there be any speeches, presentations, or any other specific moments where attention is focused solely on me?

26. How fancy or chill/informal is this “party”?

27. What temperature will it be inside the venue?

28. Is it likely that we will be going outside at any point, and for how long, and if so, must I join you?

29. Will other people actually be adhering to this party’s theme, costume, or dress code?

30. On a scale of 1-10, how closely will they be adhering to it?

31. Will people be doing, like, a sexy interpretation of the theme or nah?

32. If I take the theme at a 10, will I stand out and be embarrassed?

33. What will you specifically be wearing?

34. Will you be taking pictures that will be posted to social media?

35. Will they be candid or posed?

36. Do I have to be in the photos if I don’t want to?

37. Will there be any music or loud noises?

38. No seriously, how loud will the music be?

39. Will there be a quiet place to retreat to if I feel overwhelmed?

40. Is it okay to use my phone during the party if I need a break?

41. Can I bring a friend or a plus-one?

42. Will there be food and drinks?

43. Will there be food or drinks that actually interest me to eat?

44. Should I eat beforehand, so that I can just lightly pick at the food that doesn’t interest me without drawing attention to my strange eating habits?

45. Will you tell me if I have food stuck in my teeth?

46. Do any of the food or drinks contain my allergies?

47. Will there be alcohol served?

48. When you say you are providing alcohol, do you mean like, wine and beer, or like, liquor or mixed drinks, and if it’s wine and beer, is it white wine or red wine, and should I bring my own?

49. Is it okay if I just don’t drink?

50. Will there be smoking?

51. Cigarettes or weed?

52. If so, where?

53. Is it okay if I don’t smoke?

54. Will people be taking drugs that are neither weed nor alcohol? Like, you know… additional things?

55. What is the lighting going to be like (dim, bright, strobe, etc.)?

56. Should I plan ahead for spare cash or will Venmo or credit cards work?

57. What are the bathroom arrangements — if we’re in a public space, will the bathrooms be gendered?

58. Should I expect long lines getting into the bathroom where I have to make small talk?

59. Will there be access to plugs or chargers for my cellphone in case of emergency and my external battery dies out?

60. What is the lighting like in the venue (dim, bright, strobe, etc.)?

61. Can I bring my dog?

62. Will there be other pets present and will they be the pets I am allergic to?

63. Do you know if [friend] is bringing [their dog that doesn’t like my dog]?

64. What are the names of all the pets who will be present, so that I can practice saying hello ahead of time?

65. Is there any chance that this event will transition to a second location, and if so where and approximately when?

66. Actually, do you think you could maybe you could just give me a play by play of the night ahead in 30-60 minute blocks, so I know what to expect? That’s silly SORRY I ASKED.

67. Was I normal at the last thing you invited me to, and if not, how can I do better this time?

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 715 articles for us.


  1. These are such excellent questions! Everyone should be asking them. Hosts, take note. Taking all these issues into account will make for a better party and happier guests.

    • People with multiple disabilities exist in the queer community, and going out is often harder for us. Autism + anxiety + chronic illness that affects me in a bunch of different ways = extra planning. With a restricted diet I do like knowing if I can eat at the party or should have something at home first. If the lighting’s going to be the kind that disorients me, then that’s really going to matter, and likewise, I’ve appreciated it when a friend clued me in that get-togethers at a certain bar are unlikely to be my jam because it’s always hectic and loud in there.

      Honestly, the best thing about finding out I was autistic was when I realised I could cut just out a lot of awkwardness on both sides by just asking people what to expect or what helps them as a host, rather than trying to mind-read and making mistakes.

      Before that, I had years of confusion about stuff like how formally to dress, or how invitations would say 7.30 and I’d turn up then and be the only one, with the host clearly caught on the hop… there’s just a ton of social stuff that is not obvious to everyone, but it’s treated like it is. Even moreso if you’re new to the country, or culture, or to being part of the queer community where you live…

  2. I really appreciate the neuro-spicy detail that the page title says 50 questions, but the article itself has expanded to 67.

    That’s exactly how this stuff goes. And a few folks in the comments reminded me of more I would add 😅

  3. I can really relate to a lot of these questions! As a person with very low vision, who is questioning, if I’m Neurotypical, I have additional accessibility questions to add to this list: for example, what if there is a food buffet and I haven’t the foggiest clue what the options actually are or can I serve myself without making a mess? How awkward will it be when I ask for help at the buffet? , how awkward will it be if I can’t identify people by voices and have to continue asking people for their names all the time. P. S. Not being able to see well name tags are no help! Ha ha. I have become very good at small talk, but still, I feel like much of the time the resist thick wall of glass separating me from the rest of the group.

  4. 68. Is the bathroom wheelchair accessible? Does the bathroom work?

    69. Does the bathroom have soap and toilet paper?

    70. Why do I keep reading neurodivergent party guides and no one talks about not being able to afford to go to the party?

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