The office party. The family party. The friendsmas party. Another family party.
So many people. So much energy. It's an extrovert's dream!
But when it comes to introverts and a little downtime? Now that’s a party.
While the rest of the year has its fair share of social interactions, the Christmas season is in its own category. Researchers estimate that about one-third to half of the U.S. population are introverts, which means that as this festive season comes to close, you might be looking for a little R&R.
Extroverts may be able to breeze through a party, but you can enjoy them (for real) too! Read on for 5 easy tips from self-proclaimed introverts and psychologists to help you celebrate and recuperate from the merrymaking.
01. Be Flexible
Embrace that your routine is going to be completely different during this season. With a full schedule that includes your everyday responsibilities, holiday preparations and parties, setting aside time for yourself might not happen as organically. Schedule time to recharge, and even set a reminder on your phone if you need to! Seek out one-on-one time with close friends to help you recharge (introverts are reenergized by intimate socializing). And "don’t be afraid to prioritize the events you are invited to," says my friend and school psychologist, Lauren. Allow yourself to attend the gatherings you feel most comfortable about while politely skipping others, without feeling guilty or the fear of missing out.
02. Be Creative About Finding Quiet Time
My introvert friend Marie says, “I sneak away for some quiet alone time if I’m getting overwhelmed, even if it’s just to the bathroom!” Ria agrees, saying, “I always have to [find a quiet place] at my in-laws; I love them all, but there’s so many of them at the holidays that I need to find quiet time or I lose my mind.” If you find yourself overwhelmed by the number of conversations happening at the same time or struggle to sustain small talk, take a mini break by excusing yourself to use the restroom. This is a very popular strategy among my introvert friends, so take heed!
03. Host Your Own Party
Throwing your own parties is an incredibly successful strategy. Megan shares realizing that she could create the type of party she wanted to go to by hosting her own was a game changer. This strategy has helped her to embrace social gatherings and it has even led to her volunteering to plan annual corporate holiday parties and events for friends. Another introvert friend, Monica, agrees, adding, “Whenever possible, I help plan them. That way, I know we’ll be doing things I enjoy doing with others, and I have an excuse for disappearing for a few minutes to do the dishes or something if I need a break.”
04. Narrow Your Socializing Strategy
My friend Sylvia will “find ways to have conversations with one or two people, rather than milling around the large group. The few people I talk to might switch over the night, but narrowing down the number of people I interact with at a time is helpful.” Try Sylvia’s strategy and remind yourself that you don’t have to talk to every single person in the room. Instead, keep your focus on one or two (which is much less stressful for introverts). Katie confirms this, noting, “I would much rather find a way to have a more intimate conversations with just one or two people at a time.” Zofia says this can also be a great way to find other introverts at the party!
05. Prepare to Come Prepared
Setting foot into a crowded room can feel a little bit like throwing yourself to the wolves. Keep stress at bay by employing preconceived tricks like volunteering to help your host or bringing an activity to engage in—like a game or DIY crafts. My friend Jocelyn says, “Having something to do with my hands and eyes really helps me handle the large numbers of loud people.” Lauren, a school psychologist, advises bringing a friend with you to diffuse that overwhelmed feeling and several others also swear by this strategy. Friends Michaela and Katie also said thinking of conversation starters, questions, and stories in advance helps against feeling nervously tongue-tied the second you walk in the room.
Don’t let the prospect of going to a holiday party strike fear in your heart. Rather, know that it is very simple to manage your stress and you can even enjoy yourself. Try to add some of these tried and true methods from the introvert survival guide the next time you receive an invitation to that holiday party.
Photo Credit: Alexa Fernando