Even if crowds and large gatherings aren’t your thing, you don’t have to miss out on the season’s festivities.
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas filled with family, friends, laughter and cheer, but the thought of attending holiday parties leaves you reeling, don’t dismay. Chances are you’re an introvert.
So how do you survive the social gatherings inherent with this time of the year when you’re most comfortable spending time by yourself or with a close friend or two? Marriage and Family Therapist Judy Primm-Shimahara with Renown Behavioral Health offers some ideas to help you enjoy the wonder and warmth of this season without the social anxiety.
Fill up on you time.
Before you jump into the social abyss, give yourself a break. Don’t go straight to a party after a long shift at work or a day of activity involving a large number of people. Give yourself some time to relax and gear up for the event. Go for a walk, watch Netflix, read a book. When you’re feeling composed, rejuvenated and self-assured, head for the party.
Approach the host.
Seek out your host when you arrive with a gift in tow. Offer to help out, which might give reason to introduce you to another guest: “This is Whitney. Why don’t you help her arrange the cheese plate.” That easily you’ve met and conversed with a guest who can introduce you to others. And you’ve been helpful and gracious to boot.
Use people you know.
Let your friends do the work and initiate contact with strangers. Join in the conversation when it feels comfortable and offer your input. Or begin a conversation with a close friend. Ask guests you don’t know their opinion on the subject and pull them into the conversation. You’ve succeeded in talking to someone new with the comfort of an existing friend in your corner.
Have an escape plan.
When you arrive, scout places to retreat if you start to feel overwhelmed — a bathroom, patio or even your car. Be responsible for your own transportation so you’re not stuck if you decide you want to duck out early. Planning some detox time for yourself when it’s over gives you something to look forward to — a warm bath, time off work the next day, a marathon of your favorite show.
And as you don your party apparel throw on your positive attitude. Telling yourself you’ll have a good time can help you have a good time. Happy holidays — and enjoy!