I'm not sure that I know how to be a great participant in a group situation.
I could listen more.
I could ask more questions.
I could spend time with the quieter people, especially the ones I think are unapproachable or don't like me (I've found that this is rarely the case).
I could find ways to talk to people I don't know and make them feel welcome.
Everyone has their defaults. When I'm uncertain about my place in a group, I tend towards being loud or leading the conversation. The loud people are rarely more confident or less socially anxious than the quiet people, they just have a different default.
Last night, I had a great time. I just don't know if all of the others did. And that's something that matters to me.
Because however I act contributes to their evening, whether by intention, omission, or as a byproduct.
Especially when someone else is hosting, I so badly want them to have a great time. Gathering people takes an insane amount of effort, mostly emotional. Choosing a time and a place is bad enough, wondering if people will attend, not knowing when is the best time, hoping not to offend people if you pick a time that they can't go.
Ah, well. Next time.