Christmas parties, pre-Christmas drinks, family gatherings on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve parties with friends. The holiday season is full of opportunities to be social, celebrate and have fun. But the socialising part isn’t so easy if you’re an introvert like me. Rather than get excited, the thought of spending so much time with so many people is a little overwhelming.
It’s not that I don’t like being social, far from it – I absolutely LOVE seeing my friends. But like all introverts, I can only socialise for so long before I have to make my excuses and retreat to somewhere quiet to recharge. All the extra gatherings this season brings are part of the package that is Christmas. But just how do you get through them without feeling burned out when you’re an introvert? If you struggle with this too, keep reading, because I think I may have finally found the answer.
Socialising for introverts…
The other day I was driving to my first mastermind networking event since going back to work now my boy is at school. Feeling a little nervous, I sought encouragement by listening to one of my favourite podcasters, Marie Forleo. It was Q&A Tuesday and the question asked was:
“Are there ways to ‘work the room’ that don’t drain the life out of us introverts?”
Hearing Marie talk to Susan Caine about Networking for Introverts was like having a light bulb go off in my head. I knew that what I was listening to wasn’t just going to help me get through my morning of networking, it was also going to help me – and all my fellow introverts – get through the Christmas party season too!
But why do introverts find socialising so hard?
One third to a half of the population are introverts. That’s a lot! It means the struggle is real. It also means we’re not admitting to our struggles as much as perhaps we should. You see, whilst extroverts feed off of and are energised by socially interacting with others, the reverse is true for us introverts. Functioning better either alone or with just a couple of close friends, if we’re in a social situation for too long, we become drained and mentally exhausted. It might seem like we’re being anti-social, but that’s simply not true. The reality is that our energy for being social isn’t as high as it is for our extroverted counterparts. After a while, we need to withdraw and recharge.
So what was it that Susan said that switched the light bulb on in my head? Is socialising with friends and family this Christmas without getting an introvert hangover possible? If we follow Susan’s advice, I think it is! Here’s what she said about successfully
networking socialising when you’re an introvert…
How to socialise like a pro (when you’re an introvert)…
1. Choose what you do wisely
Susan uses career choices as the example, but the principle applies to socialising too. Choose which social engagements you say yes to based on whether they suit your personality or not. For example, if you prefer a quiet dinner over the raucous office party, that’s ok! Decline the party invitation and suggest going to dinner with your closest colleagues instead. Now, instead of feeling like a party pooper, you get to celebrate Christmas in an environment you’re comfortable in.
2. Have a quota
As introverts, we often feel torn between wanting to stay at home and knowing we should go out because ‘it’ll be good for us’. If you struggle with this dilemma too, Susan has the perfect solution – set a quota! You really don’t have to say yes to everything. Set yourself a limit for the number of events/gatherings you’re prepared to attend during the holiday season. Then, pick the ones you want to attend the most (or those which best suit your personality), and don’t feel guilty about saying no to the rest!
3. The power of one
Who says you need to ‘work the room’ anyway? Seek out what Susan calls your ‘kindred spirit’. You know, the one person you feel you connect with the most. The person you’re happy hanging out with and can easily talk to. It’s ok to spend the evening with just one person, rather than trying to be the soul of the party when it really isn’t you.
4. Socialise with the extroverts
There’s a reason they say opposites attract! Spend time with your complimentary other and socialising becomes a whole lot easier. Make a beeline for your extroverted friend or colleague and hang with them. They’ll happily lead the conversation for you – and they won’t even realise they’re doing it!
5. Know when it’s time to go
Introvert or not, we all have our limits. We all get to a point when we’re tired, we’ve had enough and we just want to go home. And there’s nothing wrong with that! There’s no rule that says you have to stay until the very end. Don’t be afraid of saying goodnight when you feel like it’s time to go.
The introvert’s guide to socialising this holiday season…
The Introvert Hangover is real, and if you’re an introvert like me, all the extra socialising that’s about to take place is going to leave you feeling drained and exhausted – unless you prepare for it. I shall definitely be using Susan’s strategies this holiday season. Just the thought of doing them makes me feel better already! If you’re looking for ways to get through this especially social season, I know they’ll help you too! Here they are again:
- Choose what you say yes to wisely.
- Have a quota.
- Remember the power of one,
- …but don’t forget to socialise with the extroverts.
- Know when it’s time to go.
That’s it for this post! Follow these steps and the introvert in you will find socialising this holiday season SO much easier! If you haven’t seen Susan’s interview with Marie yet, it’s definitely worth a watch. Her TED Talk is pretty awesome too! If you like what you’ve read, be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post. Join my tribe and kick-start creating a family life you love right now by filling in your details below. I’ll send you a copy of my FREE Daily Planner as a thank-you!
Are you an introvert too? Do you find all the extra socialising this time of year tough? How do you cope…leave your top tip in the comments below!
Until next time…
P.S. There’s more!
Be sure to check out this next post…in it, I share the five things I do in addition to Susan’s top tips to help me cope with socialising as an introvert. Follow these and you’ll be the social queen this holiday season!