It’s the work social / party season, the season to be jolly…. except if you’d rather not surround yourself with people. Especially people that are being more exuberant than normal, who also have higher expectations that you should demonstrate you’re having fun. Want some tips to survive the social season as an introvert?
Why does it feel hard?
Introverts are happy socialising but find it more tiring than extraverts. Of the many introverts I’ve surveyed and interviewed the ‘work social event’ is one of the more tiring events. Work social events tend to have fewer close friends.
Coming up to Christmas many people display “extra exuberance” (I think they claim it’s full of festive cheer); the extra noise and expectations can make it harder to relax for the evening.
Then there’s those dinners with work colleagues and partners, so you don’t even know half the people in the room. All packed with expectations of festive cheer.
Many introverts tell me that festive cheer is a good thing and they love Christmas – but on their terms not other people’s.
7 tips for introverts to survive work social events.
- Be choosy: You don’t have to go to all the festive social/ work events; don’t feel guilty about turning some down. Be polite, early and assertive when letting the host know. Then stop worrying about it, you are allowed to choose.
- Don’t stay till the end. Go at the point when you’re most enjoying the evening. As the evening drags on, you’ll get more tired. Set up your exit plan early, telling the host you need to leave at x, tell others, and tell yourself it’s OK to go.
- Leave quietly! When it’s time to go, go; don’t wander round saying good night.Chances are you feel bad about leaving early (shouldn’t, but…); spending thirty minutes energetically making excuses is not going to help you. Just go quietly, everybody else is busy.
- Have a buddy. Who will be there (or could be invited) that will make it easier for you to chat? A buddy can look out for you (and you them) and be there for you to chat to. Yes, I’ve borrowed this one from the scuba diving principle of always having a buddy.
- The smart phone is your best friend. In his podcast Charlie Lawson pointed out how good smart phones are. If somebody is on their smartphone, chances are they really want somebody to talk to. It’s the best signal you’ll ever get when wondering who to talk to.
- Small talk. Most introverts don’t enjoy small talk, preferring more in-depth discussion and worry about not knowing what to say. Change your expectation, you don’t have to talk all the time, and try to ask questions. Click here for ideas to make small talk easier.
- Recovery time. You’ll feel tired after events, what recovery time will you plan and what “active recovery” will you do? Active recovery is about choosing to do something, rather than feeling guilty you’re “just” recovering from being exhausted. Be ready for the introvert hangover (caused by people, not alcohol!) and think about how to cure the introvert hangover.
Enjoy the festive season,
I would really appreciate three minutes of your time to understand your views of extroversion, introversion and how (if?) they affect performance in business.