Holiday parties for extroverts are typically met with enthusiasm and (slightly annoying) fearlessness. But sometimes introverts approach parties with a bit of hesitation and sometimes a smidge of trepidation.
It’s okay to differ on how we feel about holiday parties. And because parties aren’t everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, I put together a few party survival tactics for introverts. For those who dread mingling and small talk and would rather stay home and read a book, this list is for you.
Holiday party success is all about the pregame. If you can grab a little bit of quiet time before the noise and chaos begins, then you’ll have energy stored up you can use for the party. It helps to know what over stimulates you so you can have a plan for respite. Take a deep breath and remember to just be you. You don’t have to act like an extrovert just because you’re at a party.
2. Arrive early
A party in full swing is loud, overwhelming, busy and often intimidating to jump right into. But if you arrive a little early, you can warm up to the party, observe others and then wade in when you’re ready. This way you can chit chat more comfortably with others who come early as it will probably be a more manageable group size.
3. Have a Game Plan
Are you there to network, make a new friend, be a wing man/woman, or help the host/hostess? Have a role or a purpose for while you’re there. Also, have a quiet getaway spot in mind to sneak away to for a short break.
4. Find the Other Introverts
Chances are the other introverts are probably hanging out in a quiet corner. Head on over, skip the small talk and jump into a conversation you’re actually interested in having. Or look for someone who’s on their own and greet them. Having a conversation with just one or two people versus circulating the room will make the party feel smaller. But know you don’t have to go around rescuing others from loneliness or awkwardness either.
5. Accept Small Talk
Most introverts are not a fan of small talk. I get it. You don’t have to make small talk forever – just little bits at a time. Think positive about small talk, but have an escape route. If you’re ready to wrap up a conversation and want to exit gracefully, go refill your drink, check on the host, or check in with a friend.
6. Chit-Chat with a Purpose
Don’t think of strangers as enemies, but as potential friends. You never know who you’ll meet and connect with! Look at small talk as a simple friendly connection. It’s okay if it’s not a deep and meaningful conversation. You’re acknowledging another person’s value in a short interaction. Listen for opportunities to add to the conversation or try to learn something new.
7. Be Ready With a Reason to Leave
You can happily and smoothly slip out of the party without ruffling any feathers when you have a plan for when to leave and why you’re leaving. This gives you a sense of control too, so you know there’s an “out”. Allow yourself to leave the party confidently when you’re ready to go. If you’re there with a friend or your spouse, have a secret code for when it’s time to leave. If that person wants to stay and be a party closer, have a conversation beforehand so you can drive separate.
8. Take Time to Recover
Have some recovery quiet time after the party. You’ve earned it! Now you get to do whatever it is you love to recharge. Read a book, go for a walk, cook, watch a movie, write, take a hot bath, play with your dogs …. Why am I telling you this? You already know what you want to do!
Overall, be confident in who you are. Don’t feel defeated because you’re more quiet than some others. Remember, you can say “no” and you don’t have to like everyone there. Your presence is a gift for whoever you want to give it to and for however long you want, but you’re not obligated to give it.
Happy holidays my introvert friend! What would you add to this list?