In a culture that strongly favors extroversion, the season upon us is exceptionally harsh for the introverted. On top of heightened demands for spending and scheduling, comes the expectation for socializing—perhaps the biggest threat to introvert holiday survival.
Where you fall on the introvert-extrovert continuum represents how much energy you generate from being alone (introverts) versus with others (extroverts). Being an introvert doesn’t mean you dislike people or don’t fit in at social events. It just means you need some extra care to prepare for, enjoy, and recover from them.
If that sounds like you, consider the following introvert holiday survival strategies as you move through the coming days of work parties, family gatherings, and friend socials.
Fill up your reserves.
Introverts may dread social gatherings because they require a lot of energy. Giving yourself alone time before an event can help you recharge your mental and emotional batteries. If you have the flexibility, consider arranging your schedule to have a break between any people-filled evenings following people-filled days.
Find something to focus on.
Worrying about an upcoming event sets introverts up for an exhausting experience. Instead, approach the event like a project. Decide what you will accomplish and estimate how much time you will spend doing it. Consider the people, the refreshments, and the venue. Who might you engage in conversation? Will you be eating a meal? Does the venue offer something interesting to explore?
Take charge and be flexible.
Arrive knowing you are in charge (it’s your project, after all) and do what needs to be done. Like any other project, look for new information, experiment, and be flexible with changes that may improve the outcome.
Reward yourself with recovery.
Schedule time after social gatherings for you to do you. If you’ve attended with a date, set the expectation that you need to decompress alone—or choose an activity that requires minimal socializing, like watching a movie.
Whatever your disposition and social calendar, I hope you enjoy these last few weeks of 2019 and find time to focus on yourself as we enter a new year.