Written By Kirsten Moodie
The Introvert Holiday Party Survival Guide
We all know that the Holidays often comes with parties and family gatherers. For some this is an exciting part of bringing in the Holiday joy, but for introverts it definitely can be a struggle. Even the most festive and social introvert is going to have a hard time with all of the forced social interaction that the Holidays often bring. Since we understand your struggle and care deeply about your well-being, we have compiled this guide to surviving the Holidays for our introverted readers.
It is important to be as comfortable as possible, at least on the outside. Wearing clothes that both look and feel good, can ease some tension. Make sure you aren’t wearing an outfit that is too binding or that forces you to adjust yourself constantly. That is only going to draw unnecessary attention to you, which will make you feel more awkward. It is also good to dress in clothes that make you feel both comfortable and confident. Something that you feel good in will make you feel more at ease in your environment. It isn’t the perfect fix, but it certainly will help ease some of your stress.
Learn to Balance Your Small-Talk
Learning how to balance your small-talk and take a few minutes to yourself is important. Find little ways to be on your own for a second, with all the hustle and bustle it will most likely go unnoticed. Too much small-talk is extremely draining for introverts and you don’t want to push yourself too far. Just taking a few minutes to ground yourself will help a lot. It can become exhausting when you do not get some time to breathe and it is perfectly okay to take this time. Your friends and family won’t be likely to go looking for you if it has only been a few minutes, this way you aren’t sitting in the middle of the room being awkwardly silent.
Remembering that your wacky and Edna is also an introvert, is something that might help you out. When you’ve become drained from all of the meaningless chatter, go find that relative or friend who is similar to you. You can provide each other with a sort of excuse to avoid the small-talk. Hanging out with this person won’t drain you as much, since they are probably feeling as introverted and drained as you are. Chat with them about things that you actually enjoy talking about, like those more in-depth topics that don’t drain you. If you are both using each other as a buffer, people won’t be as likely to bombard you.
This may seem like a crazy idea. I’m sure you’re asking yourselves, “Why on earth would they suggest that I show up to the party early? That just means more forced social situations!” Well we actually have some solid reasoning behind why this is helpful. When you show up early to parties and spend some time with the host, it makes your introductions less awkward. You are there before everyone else, so you don’t have to announce your presence or awkwardly slip into the room unnoticed. You won’t feel like all control of the situation is completely lost. You will most likely be introduced first if there are people you don’t know arriving. If this is a family party it allows you those initial hello’s without having to apologize later that you didn’t make your presence known because it felt too awkward.
Ask To Help
Another tip is to ask the host or hostess if they need a little help. This will give you plenty of time to be behind the scenes and will give you room to breathe. You will most likely be in the kitchen putting together some of the food, and tending to drinks. This way you aren’t forced to be constantly immersed in the party socializing with everyone. It will give you some small breaks in between socializing to regroup and relax a little. Being able to be more in the background is often an introvert’s comfort zone. You won’t feel nervous that everyone is going to wonder why you aren’t being social, they may actually commend you for taking the initiative to help out. Instead of looking like the anti-social person, you will be seen as very helpful and considerate. This may help ease your anxiety a little bit, along with giving you some time to yourself.
Manage Your Drinking
Drinking can be a nice social lubricant, but overindulging is going to cause you some trouble. You will most likely cause yourself to be even more drained the next day, since the alcohol will force you to indulge in more social interaction. You want to survive these Holidays without having the worst social (and physical) hangover possible. The best way to do this is not by drowning yourself in the oh-so-appealing alcoholic beverages. Sure, it will help loosen you up, but we all know you will pay for it later on. The best option is to drink on a more comfortable level, it will loosen you up without forcing you to be something you are not.
Have a Game Plan
Sometimes it helps to prepare certain small-talk ques ahead of time. Go over all of the things that you are going to say, so that it comes out much more comfortably. Sometimes just having these little conversations prepared can help you to relax when the time comes to immerse yourself in the social interactions. You already know that your family and friends are going to ask you certain personal questions, which can help you to prepare. Instead of answering on the spot, it will help you to memorize a few replies beforehand. This way you won’t feel so much pressure when the time comes to answer these tedious questions. It is also good to memorize a few questions to ask your family and friends in return. They will be happy that you are interested in them, giving you time to be alone later on without seeming rude.
It doesn’t hurt to have a few silly jokes planned, this will help you seem engaged and active in the conversation. When you make a joke or two and have key responses in mind, it helps you get through the socializing without feeling quite so drained.
Have an Exit Strategy
Make sure to have some sort of clear plan on how to leave the party. If you are with friends, it is perfectly acceptable to leave a little early. People understand that the Holidays means you probably have other parties to attend (or at-least you can let them think that) or even presents to wrap. Coming up with a good reason to get out of there is helpful to keep your mind in control. It doesn’t hurt to have a certain time in mind either. Decide beforehand how much social interaction you have to endure before you have filled the appropriate quota. This helps keep a goal in mind, which may make you feel less anxious about the situation. It truly is okay if you want to leave the party before most of the other guests, most people will not be offended by this. As long as you are courteous and maybe even bring a bottle of wine at the start of the party, you won’t be remembered as the guest who left early.
When it comes to family parties leaving can be a little trickier. Family is often incorrigible when it comes to forcing you to socialize. They want you to be a part of the entire Holiday experience, even after you are completely drained. Our tip is to be honest, without feeling like you have to explain everything. Telling your family that you don’t feel well, isn’t at all a lie. As an introvert you become exhausted when you are forced to socialize for too long. The Holidays often means way too much food, and an immediate need to take a nice long nap. Telling your family you need some time to rest a little, will make them question your reasons for leaving much less. As long as you are present and engaging, it is perfectly okay to take some time to yourself. We know you want to be able to participate in these events, but you also need to consider yourself. Learning how to keep a delicate balance of socializing and introverting will help you to survive this Holiday season.
Happy Holidays my introverted friends!
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