The Introvert’s Survival Guide to the Holidays

Image courtesy of cescassawin at

Image courtesy of cescassawin at

Dear introverts of the world (you know who you are),

This time of year with its festive atmosphere and required attendance to social events, brings its own set of challenges. Holiday events almost always include crowds, noise, late hours, and interacting with strangers.  For an introvert these extra demands are a source of anxiety and stress.  Even for those who consider themselves people people can find the demands placed on them this season exhausting.

Here’s a few tips and pointers to help introverts, and those who love them, survive the season.

  1. Don’t overbook – There are parties and events that you will be required to attend, such as work and family parties.   Then there are all of the other events – concerts, shopping, caroling, and you name it.  Make sure that for every night out on the town there are at least one or two quiet evenings at home to recharge.
  2. Plan “me” time into each day – It is important for you as an introvert to feel like you’ve had time to enjoy your favorite activities.  This doesn’t have to be long, even a half an hour a day where you know you won’t be interrupted can be enough to feel more centered.
  3. Make the best of situations – Chances are you will have to be somewhere that you might not want to go.  Before you begin, take a few moments to find three positive things about the event.  This will force your brain to find what you like about the event and then you will have a focus.  Your positives might be, free food, good music, and spending time with friends.  During the event then you need to make sure to enjoy those three things.
  4. Become a conversation guru – At social events you will be surrounded by people, many of which will not know how to hold a conversation. Don’t be one of them. One of the greatest myths about introverts is that we don’t like talking to strangers.  This isn’t true.  We just don’t like making inane small talk.  Get us talking about something we are interested in and we won’t shut up. On the same note, one of the easiest ways to get a good conversation going is to make someone else talk about something they are passionate about.  Ask questions.  Find things that you have in common.  
  5. Prioritize what’s really important – There are different events that hold special significance to everyone.  It is important that these things take precedence above other events. If it’s important to sing carols around the tree with cocoa and family, make sure it happens.  If you can’t feel the holiday spirit without making a drive out to Grandma’s, put it on the calendar.  
  6. Enlist backup – Whatever you do, if you are going to any social event, try not to go alone.  Having a significant other or dear friend along for the ride will ease some of the anxiety of being in uncomfortable places. If anything, they will give you someone to laugh with and talk to that understands.

While the holiday season can be full of uncomfortable moments for an introvert, there are also plenty of opportunities to make great memories and build traditions that will last for years to come.

Here’s wishing all of you a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a fabulous New Year!