Friday, 29 December 2017

How To Introvert The Hell Out Of Your New Year Party

Now, I know the whole concept of introverts at parties is one that may sound a bit ironic, but there are times of the year when even the most professional introvert simply cannot escape invitations and still expect people to speak to them. I know not why this is, but I just know it's true.  Therefore, in anticipation of that time, whether it be this week, or an upcoming birthday or anniversary, this is the guide to see you  through the actual hell of attending parties as an introvert:

Choose Your Table Wisely:

'You MUST scout out your surroundings before any event.  People will undoubtedly think you’re unhinged, but what do you care?  Knowing the set up of the venue will help massively with your choice of seat...'

This is primarily because you DO NOT want to sit next to the bar or the buffet.  These are heavy traffic areas and when you sit in a heavy traffic area, you will end up being spoken to by more people than you were counting on.   For normal people, this is fun.  For introverts, this is exhausting. What introverts want, more than anything in the world, is to find a table at the back of the room (preferably behind some sort of partition/curtain/cloak of invisibility), so that they can observe the actions, but not necessarily have to take part.  I realise this makes us sound horrible but we’re just not equipped to deal with lots of people at once. 

Figure Out An Escape Route:
Introverts need to know where they can get to within short notice of an OMFG episode (read: more than two people speaking to you at one time).  These are the moments when we feel so overwhelmed by a particular situation that we desperately wish we were heavy smokers so that no one would think it odd if we popped outside for a cigarette.  We also *sometimes* wish we had tiny children so that we could do the whole ‘Sorry, I’ve got to go because the babysitter needs to be away at 9:30pm’ routine.  (Note: I have actually used this excuse to get away early from a training course with a room full of random people, so don't feel that you should miss out just because you *don't* have actual children)  If someone doesn't know you from Adam, how will they ever find out?? 

Anyway, what we introverts like is an excuse to take a little bit of time out.  I find the ladies toilets at a party are the best place for this as they offer up the only real opportunity to lock yourself away in a box without people thinking you’ve lost your mind.  Bathrooms are an introvert's friend.  

Dealing With ‘Sitters’:
Sitters are lovely, friendly people that you haven’t seen for a while that take up residence at the empty chair next to you and ‘want to chat’.  We all know them.  They parade round as normal people, but they have no idea about introversion and, therefore, think nothing of their movements.  Internally, you want to scream ‘OHMYGODWHYME?’, but on the surface you simply smile pleasantly and try to look happy to see them.  I realise that sounds ungrateful and rude, but it’s not intentional.  I do like talking to people, but I don't like speaking to more than, say, two people in the course of one single evening.  I need it spread out over a period of three or four years.  Unfortunately, at any large gathering, you will come across Sitters and it’s not always possible to avoid them by looking like you were just heading to the bathroom to powder your nose. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and lie through your teeth, telling them you’ve been busy doing life stuff when, in actual fact, you’ve spent the vast majority of the last 20 years devising ways to get out of the very situation you now find yourself in.  

'Carefully come up with a few interesting conversational topics beforehand and then use them wisely throughout the night.  Write them down if you have to and then refer to them when necessary.  You won’t regret it...'

Take Back Up:
I never go to parties on my own because, well…I just couldn’t. I can barely walk into a pub on my own, even if my friends are already in there.  If it’s a party of someone I know well, it’s not as bad, but there’s literally no way on earth I’m going to party of someone I don’t know, say, as company for my sister, for example.  What ALWAYS happens, without fail, is that the person I’m with will float off to speak to someone, leaving me bereft in the corner, staring at my phone, desperately hoping that I’ve suddenly become invisible.  With back up in the shape of relatives and spouse, it’s highly unlikely that I will end up in the position where all four members of my entourage will ALL up and leave my side at the same time.  If it DOES look like this might happen, I stare at them, wild eyed, and beg them to stagger their absences so that I always have someone with me.   

Have an Exit Strategy:
You will also need to work out how quickly you can get out of the building/kitchen/wherever once the festivities are over.  The second a gathering draws to a close is the start of the all important Decompression Phase that we introverts cannot live without. This mainly consists of ignoring your husband all the way home, crawling into bed, snuggling beneath your duvet, and refusing to speak for at least 12 hours. Always know where your exits are and always, always say goodbye to the party host *before* everyone else starts.  Otherwise, you have to wait in line and that's just not good for anyone.  Having an exit strategy will greatly improve your evening, I promise. 

Take The Next Day Off:
Long gone are the days when I could people for a full weekend.  With the exception of very close friends and family, dogs are the only other living creatures that I can cope with on consecutive days.  If I know I have a night out, I need to clear my entire diary for the following 24 hours to give myself time to recharge.  This mainly involves not leaving the house and not using my phone for anything that involves actual speaking.  I am often, but not always, available via text, messenger and Snapchat for important correspondence and am more than likely to rustle up a response if there's a photo or video of a dog attached.  Otherwise, I will be a fully functioning adult only after a full day has passed. 

Suz x