During holiday season, party survival is on a lot of introverts’ minds. And it comes up year-round with all kinds of events or conferences.
Let’s get real with this. Here’s what happens to me and what works to stay out of trouble.
These same “party survival” tips below apply to all kinds of social events, from networking gatherings to conferences.
I have a love/hate relationship with parties. Even with all the stars aligned at a social event — nice people, nice environment, good conversation, fun dancing — I can find myself hitting a wall and ready to scram early.
When that happens, my inner critic can start telling me I’m being rude, and people will think I’m a jerk, and before I know it, I’m forcing myself to stretch past my limits, and then it can get worse! I turn into a wall and end up crashing later (both my energy and my mood), and that’s not good for anything.
There is a better way. It takes gumption to take a stand for your needs, but it can really save your well-being and support those valued connections with others. I hope the ideas below can help light an easier path for you. It’s helping to re-light the path for me as I write this. We’re in this together.
Over the years of watching myself and others go through this party energy drain, I’ve finally gotten more used to following these self-care habits. These things are saviors for me and many introverts:
- Be selective in how many events to attend.
Don’t agree to too many social things in one week. Yes, you can say No. Save your energy for the ones that are most important to you.
- Charge your battery in advance.
Build in some restorative time at home for a couple days leading up to social events that matter to you. (You might find you need more than a couple days before. Experiment and notice how you feel.)
- Be intentional about doing what you enjoy while at an event.
I recommend focusing on meaningful one-on-one conversations with kindred spirits because that’s usually more energizing for introverts. Or focus on something you enjoy like cooking, serving refreshments, or maybe even dancing.
- Stretch yourself in small doses.
Don’t force yourself to “suck it up” for types of socializing that drain you. A little stretching into the discomfort zone is healthy, but keep it in balance with more energizing parts.
- Be ready with a simple exit line for when someone is talking your ear off.
Quieter folks can often be seen as good listeners even if we don’t want to listen. Don’t let yourself get stuck listening forever. That’s too draining. Come up with an exit that feels right to you. Yes, interrupting is a skill worth learning. It’s OK to do it sometimes! I’ve said this kind of thing, and I stick to what’s true for me: “Excuse me. I want to make sure I connect with my friend, Sue, tonight. I’d like to go catch her. Thank you for chatting.”
- Leave when you want to, before you’re exhausted.
Make an advanced pact with your companion or drive alone if needed. The longer you wait past your exhaustion point, the harder it can be to find a graceful exit. You might need to have a rehearsed line like “I need to get home safely before I’m too tired to drive.” Or better yet, forget all excuses and apologies: “We’re heading out now and I just wanted to express my appreciation before we go. Thank you for this great food and lovely gathering.” Period. No excuse necessary.
- Build in unapologetic down time afterwards.
It doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re great at self-care. You are! It’s built in.
I hope you’ve found at least one tip you can try on soon. If you have other tips, I hope you’ll share them in the comments below. And consider chatting with other introverts about these kinds of topics in The Caring Introvert Clubhouse (a free group on Facebook).