As you grow older, so does your concept of the ideal night. The parties and events you once looked forward to may now feel like a chore, or worse. You might have swapped bars and beers for books and bedtimes. Or perhaps not. Maybe the life of your party is completely ageless, and you have just as many club nights on your calendar as you did 30 years ago. Although we're not ones to judge, we asked 1,000 people to do that for us.
When do people feel you're simply too old to party? What's the prime age for every concert and night out? And who exactly judges older partiers the most? Continue reading to learn all of these answers and more.
Aging gracefully may just go hand in hand with partying: Almost two-thirds of respondents believed you're never too old to party. That said, partying can mean different things to different people, so we made sure to get into the specifics.
The most accepted form of partying later in life was attending small shows or concerts, which 89% of respondents agreed was something they never planned to stop, no matter what age they reached. Data showed more of a decline in acceptance with things like attending multiday music festivals and bar hopping, which 72% and 65% of people expected to grow out of, respectively. The easiest party activity to age out of? Going to clubs. Forty-two percent of respondents agreed there's a certain age when going to dance clubs is no longer an option.
Both women and the gay community were more likely than their male and straight counterparts to party later in life. Perhaps the historical civil rights struggles faced by female and nonheterosexual communities has led to their acceptance of a wider group of ages, regardless of the specific party scenario. Or maybe their parties are just more fun.
Data previously revealed that 69% of people who said they currently attend multiday music festivals believe people are never too old to party. The particular festivals attended, however, heavily impact that sentiment.
Those who attend the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience were the most likely to believe a person is never too old to party. This might be due to the festival maintaining a heavy art focus in addition to music, catering to a wider variety of interests and, therefore, age groups. The iHeartRadio Music Festival and SXSW, on the other hand, had 38% of respondents agreeing you can certainly be too old to party. Held annually in Las Vegas, this festival may be better geared toward younger, more hangover-tolerant people.
Partying may also be heavily influenced by the genre of music. Seventy percent of those who preferred jazz, for instance, felt they were never too old to party, compared with 64% of respondents who preferred pop. Classical, blues, and country music were also polarizing choices, with 69% of fans agreeing you're never too old to party.
Forty-four appeared to be the not-so-magical number at which people agreed it's time to stop partying. This opinion was gathered only from those who felt a person could age out of partying, yet the type of party discussed caused their opinion to oscillate. First, they agreed, you should stop attending or hosting house parties and keggers at age 33. This may be good advice, as your liver (which helps your body eliminate alcohol) does become worse at its job as you get older.
Moving into your late 30s also had people thinking it was time to stop doing things like going to dance clubs and bars, bar hopping, and partying on the various drinking holidays like St. Patrick's Day, New Years Eve, and Mardi Gras. Again, it appears to be the events and parties with a heavy drinking focus that are most easy to age out of. In comparison, things like attending local venues to see live music were much harder to age out of, which many agreed could be done up until your mid- to late-40s.
Overall, Americans were fairly nonjudgmental when in the company of a much older person at a party: 58% didn't care at all, while another 19% called it "kind of cool." Less than a quarter of respondents saw an older person partying as "kind of sad." That said, the younger a person was, the more likely they were to judge an older partier negatively. Thirty-five percent of partiers between the ages of 18 and 24 described an older person partying as sad. This may make sense, as an older person at a teenage party seems much less reasonable than an older person attending a party with his or her contemporaries.
Genders and sexual preferences also played roles in partying-age acceptance. Women were 4 percentage points more likely than men to think older people partying was "kind of sad." Perhaps men had a desire to party for longer than women and were less likely to consider it sad. Percentage points split even further among gay and straight communities: Gay respondents were 10 percentage points more likely than straight respondents to think partying as an older person was "kind of cool."
The absolute peak partying age in the U.S. was 22, according to 1,000 Americans. In theory, this would give each person one year of legal alcohol consumption to learn the ropes and be in prime partying form by the following year. In reality, however, partying seems to start closer to age 19, which may have people estimating a longer exposure to alcohol consumption before they reach 22. Research has shown that more than 80% of college students have consumed alcohol within the past two weeks, a number so high that it must be inclusive of freshman and sophomore students.
Most party types peaked for people around college, with things like raves and drinking at bars peaking at 21 and 23, respectively. In fact, the oldest "peak" for any type of party was just 23. Things like attending concerts and multiday music festivals were all deemed ideal to partake in at 23, on average.
Our respondents may have slowed down a bit following these "peak" ages, but many certainly didn't quit. Only 12% of 25- to 34-year-olds stopped attending concerts, and less than a quarter stopped drinking at bars. Even among the oldest age group (55 to 64), only 17% said they stopped going to concerts entirely.
Partying does not equal happiness, at least not over the long term: A huge portion of respondents (86%) preferred their current lives over their past partying selves. This may hold particularly true for those whose party preferences typically included alcohol, which often correlates with less serotonin (the happiness hormone) in the brain. Dropping a heavily alcoholic part of your life can scientifically lead to greater feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
Moreover, 51% of people still partying were currently concerned they would regret the behavior later in life. In contrast, 62% of respondents who had stopped partying actually felt glad about their past partying experiences. Only 15% of respondents who no longer partied felt regretful about their partying pasts.
For many, cutting back on partying is often an inevitable part of life. For a majority of respondents (74%), various party habits naturally slowed down with age. Their new lives often reflect less of an immediate decision to stop partying and more of a gentle ease. Another 57% of people who had cut back on their partying did so because partying had simply become less fun. Equally as often, people cited the negative effects of the next day contributing to a reduction in their partying. Many people can tell you based on personal experience that hangovers get worse with age, a fact that's even scientifically proven. Even if alcohol isn't consumed, any negative impact on sleep may be to the detriment of your next day as well.
Roughly half of respondents also claimed to have slowed down their partying because of their shifting priorities. With continuing education, family life, homeownership, and the many other factors that come with age, spending time and money on partying may be less of an appealing option. The other responsibilities that come along with adulthood may also present heavy time barriers, and blowing off steam starts to come in the form of vacations or quiet nights at home. Fortunately, only 18% of respondents felt an obligation to stop because their behavior impacted their families.
The reasons to party less do begin to stack up as you age: Hangovers become more severe, your financial responsibility to save may have grown dramatically, or you may just not enjoy the party atmosphere like you once did. Fortunately, respondents who faded out of the partying life seemed more than happy to have done so.
Even better, very few people aged out of activities like concerts and small shows, with respondents well into their 50s and 60s attending these types of events. Here at TickPick, we have no opinion about whether or not you're too old to party. Regardless of your age or what you're into, we'll help you find the best tickets for concerts, festivals, live music and more without having to pay a single hidden fee.
Using Amazon's Mechanical Turk service, we surveyed 1,000 people who currently partied or who had previously partied. To ensure that all respondents took our survey seriously, each respondent was required to identify and correctly answer a carefully hidden attention check. 580 of our respondents were female, 415 were male, and five did not identify as male or female. Our average respondent was 37.5 years old.
These data are intended for entertainment purposes only, and strict statistical testing has not been performed on these findings. In some cases, questions and responses have been rephrased for clarity or brevity. These data rely on self-reporting. Issues with self-reported data may include but are not limited to exaggeration, telescoping, selective memory, and attribution errors.
Do you define a party as simply connecting with friends? You're more than welcome to share this article with anybody you'd like as long as you link back to this page so that its contributors receive proper credit for their work.