The Holiday Introvert: 3 Tips to Achieve Maximum Cheer

The start of the holidays seems to get earlier and earlier each year. This year, minutes after Halloween ended, it began. Store displays, TV commercials, “Pre-Black Friday” sales already in full swing. I guess I’m okay with it as long as stores stay closed on Thanksgiving Day. And the ones that don’t, I’ll happily boycott. But I digress.

With the arrival of the holiday season also means holiday parties are just around the corner. My personal experience has been that party invitations vary widely from one year to the next. A few years back, I remember being invited to six parties. I went to the first five, and was so mentally exhausted by that point that I declined the sixth


Nov. 11: the display at the local Lowe’s store – too early!

invitation, without hesitation. Lesson learned for sure. But the following year, there were maybe half the number of invites.

This year, it remains to be seen, but my inner introvert is already starting to wonder how things will unfold. The key for introverts, especially this time of year, is to pace ourselves, be okay with sitting out a party or two, and overall find a healthy balance. Here are 3 tips to help us introverts get through holiday parties with maximal cheer and minimal grumpiness.

  1. Prioritize if necessary. Depending on our particular work situations, office parties might be “strongly encouraged” to attend, even if it’s not our top pick. If we skip the office party, could it have negative consequences? If so, seriously consider attending, even if we’re just “making an appearance.”
  2. Set Limits.  Setting a time limit before arriving at a party can help put our minds at ease. But if we’re having fun and want to stay longer, go for it! And like I mentioned, limit the number of social engagements to what’s comfortable. And if these events are scheduled with a good cushion of time in between, even better!
  3. Set some ground rules. If we’re going to a party with a friend or significant other, have a talk beforehand about how introverts approach social situations. Explain that going off by ourselves for a short while, or having a quiet conversation with one other person, off in a corner somewhere, is perfectly fine and just our way of recharging. Also, talk about an agreed check-in time with each other during the party to see how you’re both doing, and if you both want to stay longer.

During the holidays, Stephen and I will check back in about our respective holiday party calendars and how things are going. In the meantime, try out the above tips and see how things go for you!

– JR









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