An Introvert's Guide to Surviving a Holiday Party
Wallflower, according to my dictionary, is "a person who from shyness or unpopularity remains on the sidelines of a social activity (as a dance)." Introvert, according to my dictionary, is "a reserved or shy person."
If you're surprised that the dictionary contains these definitions in lieu of your headshot, chances are you're not looking forward to your company's holiday party.
Whom will you speak to? What will you say, in the absence of work-related topics? What will you wear? What if your company culture is work-hard play-hard, yet you're worried that even one drink will imperil your (ahem) decision-making?
Breathe. Here's How to Make it Through the Party
Luckily, more than a few introverts (including yours truly) have lived through past holiday parties. Here are four easy-to-replicate survival tips, all of which I've personally tested and relied upon:
Arrive early. The sooner you arrive, the sooner you can acceptably depart, knowing you've made a game effort when it comes to face time. If you stay at the party for two hours, no one can question your commitment (even if the party is just warming up by the time you leave).
Find your reason for leaving. You need to develop a publicly acceptable reason for leaving, other than "I'm not having a good time." Sometimes another holiday party (for example, your significant other's holiday party) is reason enough. Ticketed events with rigid starting times also work well, in my experience. Think local theater, or hockey games. Events like this allow you to play the "I wish I could stay, but I need to leave" card.
Become a short-term follower. "If you have an extroverted office buddy, take the coattails approach, and tag along while she circulates. You won't have to think about where to go next, and she'll take care of breaking the ice," notes Carmel Lobello on TheWeek.com.
Keep a bottle of water in one hand and a snack in the other. With both hands full, it won't be as easy "to pull out your phone to check the weather or Instagram or play a round of Quiz Up," writes Lobello, who points out that for introverts, it's always tempting to use phones to escape from eye-contact and in-person conversations. The rest of Lobello's story offers more advice about surviving the holiday-party season. Especially for those of us who are on the shy side.