Introvert Holiday Nightmare: Going To a Party and Networking
If you’re like me, there is a turmoil that churns inside you as the holidays draw near. You do want to be wanted and a party invitation is certainly a sign that someone finds you desirable to be around. On the other hand, you regret agreeing to go shortly after you responded. It tends to only get worse as the day draws near.
What sounded like a good idea a few weeks ago sounds like a bad idea now. It’s how we roll.
Despite the various arguments your mind wages on going or not going, let me share with you a few of things I’ve learned to take the dread out of it for you.
- Focus on a strategy – Yes, it sounds strange to think of a party like a strategy but there is some introvert goodness in doing this. Part of the dread of going to a party is the energy consumption of meeting new people and talking (or listening). It’s too easy to allow yourself to sit and listen endlessly for hours. Some of that are ok but too much is a soul sucking. I have found a good strategy is to focus on 1 or may be 2 people at a time and to stay focused on them for a while. Introverts prefer relationships one-on-one, so go with what you do best. Another part of my strategy is to try to meet a couple of new people and get to know them more than the usual superficial party level. The good thing about focusing on a strategy is that it replaces the voice in your head telling you to stay home.
- Find one thing to look forward to – If you give it some thought, you can find a few high points to going to the party. You might think of more. Perhaps its getting to see someone you don’t see too often and this will allow you some catch-up time. If that isn’t it, it could be the opportunity to wear something special or the location. We once went to the party that was held before a musical. I knew we wouldn’t know anyone that would be there, but I was looking forward to the stage event. When you have something positive to think about, use that to replace your negative party-talk.
- Set boundaries – If you have to, you could decide to go but only for a specific amount of time. That way, you aren’t a flaky “no-show” to the host and you can go with the knowledge that you have a cutoff point. Another tactic is to set boundaries on people who talk too much. We are great listeners but when you’re around someone who talks too much and cares too little about your life because they are only talking about them, it stops being fun. Know your limits and disengage.
- Volunteer – Call your host and see if you can help them with setting up the party or running to get supplies. You’ll be appreciated and also feel a greater investment in the event.
- Define your attitude – You can choose to think about going to a party however you want. Look at the party as an opportunity to meet a new friend or tighten relationships with people you already know. Make a choice to not be a party pooper – before the party. There must be some good reason someone thought enough of you to invite you to their event. Capture that good spirit and use it.
I think it’s important to participate in the things people invite you to. I know not all of my fellow “innies” shares that perspective. But, in my mind it goes something like this: If you turn someone down enough or are a no-show, they will stop asking. It becomes a signal that you don’t want to nurture the relationship. For me, if they are in my life to begin with, I do care and I want this person to know.
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