The holidays can be stressful for introverts as there are so many people and expectations that can make them uncomfortable or exhausted. Here are some ways that introverts can experience success during this season:
- Parties: If you’re like a lot of introverts, you seldom or never attend parties or socials that are outside of work. However, there are some ways you can make the experience a success despite feeling uncomfortable. First, show up early. If you show up early, there are fewer people and it’s not as loud. People are not already gathered in clusters, making them difficult to approach. Second, if you arrive early it does not look odd if you leave early, because you were there before most others. Third, ask if you can help with a certain task. When you are focused on a task, it makes you feel less socially exposed. Even if the task is greeting people at the door. Finally, if a person is hosting this such as your boss or a friend and you really feel uncomfortable or do not want to go, let whoever hosting know you won’t make it by saying you have other plans. They don’t have to know your plan is to stay home. It’s kinder than not responding at all. Check out Party Hacks For Introverts:
- Conversations: You will see people during the holidays that you see only once a year, so it may be difficult to make conversation with these people you do not know well. Whatever you do, no matter how introverted you are, be kind. Think of a question you can ask them about themselves ahead of time to start a conversation. When they ask you “what’s new”, let them know briefly instead of saying “not much” or “nothing new”. It’s easy but lazy to show up knowing you’re going to see someone and to have not prepared. Extroverts can easily start up a conversation, however, as introverts, we have to be more intentional with what we’re going to say.
- Shopping: On-line shopping is not only convenient, it is an introvert’s dream, right up there with texting taking the place of phone calls. But what if you do need to get out of the house to shop for something? If possible, go by yourself. That way, you can be in and out of a store as quickly as you want to be, and you won’t be forced to sit or stand around waiting on someone else. And go early in the morning or late at night. I personally love going to the grocery store in the early morning hours when it is always quiet and practically empty. It’s actually peaceful!
- Travel: Crowds and noise while traveling can be overwhelming and irritating for introverts. If you’re traveling by air and have a layover, many airports have a chapel or meditation room. Every time I have gone into these spaces, they are empty, despite the massive crowds right outside their doors. Next, look for empty gates that are not boarding soon. There is likely other travelers camped out in those areas; however, they are usually seeking a less crowded and peaceful place as well, so will most likely be quiet.
- Visitors: It can be difficult to find an escape of solitude if visitors are staying at your house or you are staying at their home. Have a reason, any reason for your escape rather than disappearing without a word. When you escape without a reason, if it is for a longer length of time, people will begin to wonder where you are and why you left, which causes unwanted attention to yourself. Also, consider what tasks you can do to remove social pressure. There are always things to be done where you can focus on a task instead of blankly staring at someone trying to think of something to say. Even if you are doing the task with someone else, there won’t be as much pressure to come up with things to say.
- Set Expectations: This is the most important to do with your spouse, family member or significant other. If you have an important person in your life who wants you to go to a party, travel or go shopping with them, negotiate a win-win. If their plans sound overwhelming, let them know what you can do, and negotiate a happy medium. Maybe your wife wants you to go to her office party and also visit her family over Christmas. You could negotiate by saying, “let’s go to the party for an hour” and “let’s visit your family, but let’s stay in a hotel.” Setting expectations beforehand will be helpful for both you and your partner to avoid frustrations or misunderstandings.