Why some GenZs are less interested in clubbing


Younger people who go out prefer house parties or park and chill.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • Alternative forms of socialising for young people are just as fun.
  • Not going out has its downsides, such as losing touch with friends.

Generation Z is changing how they socialise. Unlike before, many young adults are shunning traditional social venues like nightclubs.

A spot check by Nation Lifestyle team found that most revellers who patronise entertainment joints in Nairobi these days are older folk.

The younger people who do go out prefer live music shows on a Saturday afternoon or house parties, or park and chill, a new party trend, where young Kenyans park their cars at an open field and sit and drink.

This new trend, of staying in instead of going out, is also attributed to factors such as safety concerns, financial constraints, and the increasing popularity of alternative forms of entertainment such as TikTok.

This shift reflects a broader cultural change, highlighting the evolving priorities and values of the tech-savvy generation, which is often misunderstood.

Jesse Justus, a photographer and videographer, had a chilling experience that prompted his decision to quit going out.

On New Year’s Eve, he was at a popular club in the city with a group of friends, bingeing on liquor.

They were on the rooftop of the 12-storey building when suddenly, one of the friends moved to the edge and threatened to jump over the balcony.

It was a scary spectacle, and everyone turned their attention to the drunk friend, pleading with him not to jump. They took more than an hour to calm him down, after which they gave him water so he could sober up.

“Since then, going out to parties has become a risk, that’s how I view it. I quit. Before then, I used to party every weekend, especially when there was a football match to watch. My decision was also fueled by the tough economic times. I am currently broke so I don’t have money to spend on drinks,” he says, adding that the music played in most entertainment joints is underwhelming.

“The playlist is always so predictable. I would rather stay home where I am comfortable, with my drink, and listen to music from my playlist, at a tolerable volume."

Another thing that also seems to put young people off about going out is how phones and gadgets seem to have captivated everyone’s attention.

“You go out with friends and they stay glued to their phones. Also, if you are not loaded enough on a night out, you find yourself gawking at people’s tables, or them staring at yours since you’re taking a cheap drink and they are on a spending spree.”

Jesse says he now spends his time surfing through social media, both for fun and work, since he does digital marketing. It’s a win-win for him although his decision has somehow made him an introvert.

He however notes that mentally, he is in a better place because there are no shenanigans arising from going out at night.

“The risk of endangering my life was the biggest reason I stopped going out. There are those friends you'll go out with and they start fighting over nothing. Amid the melee, if you try to defend them or separate them, you may end up with cuts or bruises. Someone might break a bottle on your head or punch your nose just because they are drunk. That’s very dangerous,” says Felix Musungu.

The 25-year-old technician last went out in December 2023. He recently joined a charity group called Sonia where they visit children's homes spreading love and kindness every weekend.

“What is fun for me nowadays is writing, I write poems. It is when you start using your energy the right way that you realise you are talented. Perhaps it is also an age thing. Once you hit 25 you realise going out is a phase. Your priorities change,” he says.

Felix Musungu is a technician who is based in Nairobi.

Felix believes staying in instead of going out for parties was the best decision he has ever made. His friends are on their first jobs and have just begun earning. They go out every weekend, and sometimes on weekdays.

“They keep bugging and asking me why I won’t join them in club hopping. They don’t understand that for me, that ship already sailed. For now, instead of contributing cash so that my friends and I can buy rounds of liquor on a Friday night out, I would rather save the money to buy land in future,” he says.

Frankline Keya, a digital journalist, considers going out a distraction. He feels that the time and energy spent on a night out can be put to good use, like working hard at work. Like most Gen Zs, Frankline wants to be hugely successful while he is still young.

“I still go out, but only with a purpose. Before I go out for a night of fun, I make sure I have achieved my agenda for the day and week. For instance, I attended an event in March and I aimed to network and increase my portfolio. It is only after that event that I allowed myself to go out,” he says.

Keya says he stopped clubbing when he realised the money he spent at entertainment joints could have instead been used on fare or food.

Frankline Keya

Frankline Keya, a digital journalist.

Photo credit: Pool

He finds it weird that any adult would choose to brave the cold on a Friday, sitting on the balcony of a club with blaring music at 11 pm and downing brown bottles instead of being at home, sleeping.

“The economy is also not giving us much of a choice. I have been planning to go bowling at Two Rivers Mall for a while now, but on second thought, the cost of such an outing is discouraging. I would rather use the money as bus fare to work,” he says.

Instead of going out, Keya, who describes himself as an avid reader, says he keeps tabs on what columnist Eddy Ashioya has written on Saturday magazine’s ManTalk every weekend.

He has also turned to positive consumption of social media as an alternative since he can consume positive, educational content. This, he says, helps him keep boredom at bay.

“I am glad to have had a Damascus moment. I recently found salvation in Christ and snubbed going out to party,” shares Shirley Valery Achieng, a student at St Paul’s University.

Shirley believes that many Gen Zs are not going out because of depression coupled with peer pressure.

She has observed that most of her friends are highly ambitious, and have decided to concentrate more on their goals instead of tending to their social lives.

“I encourage my friends to go to events and network or to participate in activities they like as volunteers. Since I stopped going out, I spent my time building my career. I also browse social media in search of motivation and entertainment," she says.

The case is a little different for Poline Owino, a student at Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, who stopped going out because of financial constraints. She opted to channel the funds to more important things such as food and clothes.

“As a woman, sometimes, going out can be risky as you may be exposed to people who want to take advantage of you once drunk. Also, what made going out distasteful for me was an incident where my friends got their drinks spiked and everything stolen from them. I developed insecurities ever since,” she says.

Poline Owino

Poline Owino, a student at Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

Photo credit: Pool

The 20-year-old student says that instead of going out, she enjoys scrolling through different social media platforms. This way, she gets both entertainment and information.

“I found the clubbing environment noisy and the interactions superficial. I used to go out with friends every weekend just because of FOMO (fear of missing out),” recounts Marfline Wangui, a commercial model.

The 22-year-old says to her, there is no fun in clubbing.

“I hate the part where you wake up with a nasty hangover the following day, feeling weak and sick. I quit that life and nowadays I visit art galleries and museums or go for hikes.

Marfline Wangui

Marfline Wangui, a commercial model.

Photo credit: Pool

“I find it satisfying to stay indoors alone, reading and watching videos on social media rather than going out with friends who may not add value,” she offers.

Marfline notes that going out for some Gen Z is a phase that they fast outgrow.

Brian Khavalaji is the founder and event organiser at Tabasamu Concepts, an outfit that creates networking spaces for Gen Zs to build strong social capital.

He believes technology has played an integral role in making Gen Zs shun nightclubs. 

“Being a tech-savvy generation, it is much easier for us to talk via a video call, for instance, than to just meet physically. Further, the glory that was once attached to communal living is fast waning especially in urban towns. People nowadays have been forced to keep to themselves,” he pinpoints.

The event organiser says most social gatherings require some financial abilities, which he has yet to achieve. If one was to go to a hotel or the theatres to watch a film, they have to incur some costs that many Gen Zs can’t afford. 

Brian Khavalaji

Brian Khavalaji, founder and event organiser at Tabasamu Concepts.

Photo credit: Pool

“On Gen Z's perception of traditional social venues such as bars and clubs, I haven't been to many such places but they all have loud music, which can be boring to someone who just wants to chill.

The Tabasamu concepts founder says there are alternative forms of socialising for young people such as alcohol-free events, music sessions, book clubs and game nights that are fun and don’t encourage usage of drugs.

For instance, the next event at Tabasamu Concepts involves a painting and decorating hangout.

“Gen Zs have so much social anxiety and high numbers of introverted individuals. As much as some enjoy going out, a larger percentage find it hard to go outside. We want quality over quantity interactions. We can go out once a month, let’s say for a Blankets and Wines event, and then return to our cocoons waiting for another opportunity to have that one quality, intimate interaction again,” he notes.

According to Brian, not going out also has its downsides, such as losing touch with friends and failure to unwind and distress, which may impact someone’s mental health, and affect their performance at work or in school.