I recently attended my work holiday party. I consider myself an introvert and these parties, although I can have fun, tend to drain me of my energy. To be honest, I do not look forward to them. In fact, every year about 2 months before the party, I remember what’s coming and start thinking of ways to get out of the party. Then 2-3 weeks before, I realize that I pretty much need to go as it is an important opportunity to network.
Does this sound familiar?
If you would rather relax at home than attend a holiday work party, I can completely empathize with you. If you are looking for a way to make the most of your next work party, then keep reading.
I want to first clear a common misconception. Introverts don’t have poor social skills. In fact, they can be as “fun” to be around as their extrovert colleagues. They just prefer conversations in smaller groups. Usually, in every party, including the last one, I get told, “Elita, I didn’t know you could be so fun”. It always seems like such a surprise.
Below are some tips that have helped me get through large parties.
The Introvert’s Guide to Surviving the Dreaded Work Party
Have An Exit Strategy
Plan your exit before you even enter. If you feel that it is really time to go, prepare in advance what you will say when it is time to leave. Don’t make something crazy up. If it is a work week, a simple, “need to wake up early tomorrow” is a simple but good start.
Do you tend to arrive early or late at parties? Being among the early people to arrive increases the likelihood that you become part of a small group. When newcomers start trickling in, they tend to join groups that are already present. This is not only a great way to meet new people but reduces the risk of crowd shock.
[tweetthis]Crowd Shock = Arriving at a location where the crowd is above your comfort zone[/tweetthis]
Prepare your Floating Device
My son was very afraid of the water when we first got a swimming pool. Eventually, he would only go on his large Whale Flotation device. He felt safe on it and he knew it would protect him. Before going into a situation that would make you feel uncomfortable, prepare your floating device. Refresh your memories with any stories that involve any of your colleagues. Or think about a few questions that you can refer to when the conversations run dry. Chances are, they eventually will. Preparing these stories or questions in advance will be your floating device when needed.
Plan Some Alone Time
Introverts tend to get their energy drained when they are around a lot of people. When you arrive at the party, look for a place where you can step out for a while to recharge, if needed. When I needed a break, I stepped out to make a phone call. Those 10 minutes by myself gave me the energy I needed to get back to the party after a quick recharge.
Play to your Strengths and Be Yourself
Don’t try to be like other people. The day that I learned to accept who I was, I became more relaxed at parties and a lot of other social venues. Introverts are known to have several strengths. One of their biggest strengths is their ability to listen and connect to people at a deeper level. People love to feel listened too. Don’t worry so much about knowing what to say. Instead, work on learning to ask people questions about themselves. Get them to talk.
Most of all, RELAX and HAVE FUN.
Have a Plan to Recharge
One of the most important steps after a big social event is planning your downtime. Introverts need their time to recharge. Sometimes it is not so easy to do especially if you have a busy life. The next day, I went to work and had an extremely busy day surrounded by a lot of people. At night, I made sure to take any time I could for myself. I grabbed my tea, a book and spent just 30 minutes refueling. Whatever works for you, make sure you take the time to do it. This is especially true around the holiday period when you might have one party after another.
Are you or someone you know an Introvert? What tips do you have for enjoying and surviving a big social event?