There’s a reason why introverts aren’t usually particularly fond of parties—too much stimulation and small talk, but not enough authenticity and quiet. And yet, like most things in life, sometimes parties are inevitable. So, why do we do it? Why do we spend long Friday nights out feeling lonelier than when we’re alone? Because despite hating the peer pressure we face making bad decisions, we hate not participating even more. We hate not knowing. But there are ways to make good decisions and enjoy parties, rather than seeing them as mere social obligations. Psych2Go shares with you 6 ways to survive parties as an introvert:
1. Know when it’s worth it to go out.
It’s okay to be selective about which parties to attend. In fact, it’s smart to choose what works best for you. You don’t have to go to every event you’re invited to. It’s similar to dating. If we spent all our time trying to date everyone, it would lose meaning. We’re not compatible with every person that we meet, and the same applies to parties. It’s okay to skip out on weddings, dinners, and social gatherings to people you barely know.
It’s also perfectly fine to ditch common places, such as coffee shops and bars if they’re “not your thing.” There are many great underrated spots you can still go to and meet people. But social events you shouldn’t miss out on are special occasions with close friends and family, networking opportunities for work, and your own celebrations. Spending time with the people who matter to you is important.
2. Arrive early if you can.
It’s tempting to show up late when you don’t want to stay for too long. But, you can always arrive early and leave early, too. When you arrive early, there will be less people at the party. This can take pressure off of you compared to arriving in the middle of a party when it gets too crowded.
Arriving early also gives you a chance to explore the environment and know where everything is. If you identify as an introvert with social anxiety, this can especially come in handy because the more prepared you feel, the less anxious you will feel. It’s like testing out the waters before fully diving in. Remember, you don’t ever have to fully commit to being somewhere if you feel uncomfortable. What matters is that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and trying.
3. Find a hiding spot and take frequent breaks in between.
You see it all the time in movies: the socially awkward teenager finds a quiet spot away from the party and that’s when they stumble upon someone they click with. It’s not too different in real life either. Like-minded people travel together. Since it’s easy for introverts to feel overstimulated, it’s important to find time in between for themselves. Whether that means stepping out into the cold air for a while or going to a quiet corner far away from the music and dance floor, just a few minutes can do wonders. Utilizing hiding spots is good for your health.
4. Focus on something manageable.
It can be overwhelming when people jump from topic to topic in conversations. Small talk can also be painful and difficult to get through. But nothing ever really goes the way we think or want it to go. Instead of dreading interacting with people, you can embrace the challenges as they come. Recognize that you do have what it takes to make a connection with others.
It might take a few tries, awkward pauses, and bad jokes, but the fact that you can struggle together with other people means that you’re not alone. People put up fronts all the time, but truthfully, others feel just as intimidated as you. To break the ice, find one thing you have in common and run with it. Conversations are more manageable when you can relate to one another.
5. Make an escape plan.
When you start to feel your battery running on low, know that you can always leave the party early. Thank the host for inviting you and come up with a good excuse to leave. It doesn’t have to be a big, exaggerated lie. Sometimes, honesty is the best way to go. Tell them that you had a good time, but that it’s been a long day for you and you need to get some rest. Or let them know that you have to get up early the next morning and you want to get home at a decent hour. People won’t find it rude if you remind them that you’re human and can only do so much in one day. They will understand because we’ve all been there.
6. Continue giving parties a chance.
It’s okay if you don’t have fun at each function. But, don’t completely rule parties out for one lousy experience. It just means you haven’t found the right people you click with. Parties weren’t intentionally made on earth to make anyone feel excluded or worse about themselves. We all want to feel like we belong. You may find that especially challenging as an introvert when your first reaction is wanting to hide in this predominantly extroverted world. And that’s to be expected. It’s a defense mechanism for survival purposes. The walls you build feel familiar and safe. But, hiding gets old over time.
Haruki Murakami writes, “You can keep as quiet as you like, but one of these days somebody is going to find you.” Maybe you don’t always know how to approach people or start conversations without making them awkward. But, continue giving social events a chance. Continue giving people a chance. Just when you’re on the verge of giving up on socializing altogether, you might just meet someone who wants to hear stories about the times you’ve struggled. They exist, I promise. I’m one of them.
What do you think?
How do you survive parties as an introvert? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
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Dembling, S. (2009, November 20). Party Survival Tactics for Introverts. Psychology Today. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
Murakami, H. (2013). 1Q84. New York: Vintage.
Ravenscraft, E. (2014, August 12). How to Survive a Party or Social Gathering as an Introvert. Lifehacker. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
Stillman, J. (2016, June 23). If You’re an Introvert, Here’s How to Survive Your Next Work Party. Inc. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
Temple, J. (2016, November 22). The Holiday Party: An Introvert’s Survival Guide. Huffington Post. Retrieved April 3, 2018.