I am actually an ambivert, fluctuating strangely between extreme extroversion and extreme introversion (sorry for the confusion friends!). Along the way I have identified some key strategies when either trait proves problematic. One of these is coping with parties when my introverted side takes control.

Here are my 5 top tips to survive parties for introverts! Let me know if you agree!

1. Maintain control of your attendance

This is foremost the most important tip for me. If I am not in the mood for socialising, but there is no way of getting out of it, then I make sure that I have the ability to arrive and depart when I want to. I know I am not alone when I say that as an introvert, when your energy has gone, it's gone, and like Cinderella at midnight, you just gotta get the hell out of there fast before you figuratively feel like a pumpkin, stuck there, slowly rotting from the last dregs of energy the other people are ripping from you. You really need that last sap for the journey home, so start becoming conscious of when you are becoming depleted and begin saying your goodbyes, politely but assertively.

2. Energise before and after – the introvert way

So, having control of when you arrive at a party and when you leave is very comforting for introverts, but conversely you may not have resolved the gnawing guilt from what you think people think of you arriving late, and how people may berate you for leaving early. Quite simply, we gotta get out of our heads and respect our own right to decide how much time we socialise.

Fundamentally, other people do not own you, but as introverts in an extroverted world, sometimes we let them. If I am having to make my way to a party on my own, I make sure I do something meaningful and energising on the journey there and back. If I can, I will ride my bike, as it's one of my passions and sometimes it's exciting to take a journey through the city that you have never taken before, where you may discover something new. If I have to take public transport, then I will prepare a really good podcast to listen to, or read a good book or journal (usually National Geographic). I find that doing something that energises me internally on the way there takes away the anxiety of being at the party because you had some quality me-time before-hand. The biggest benefit is that if you did something comforting and energising on the way there, then any guilt on leaving the party, is immediately relinquished by the excitement that you get to be back in that comforting world again for the journey home.

3. Anchor Yourself

So you have reached the party, feeling somewhat exposed, so many people pulling your attention, so much pressure to stream clever and witty one-liners, tell captivating stories, be attentive to everyone around you and project a image of perfect contentment, happiness and frivolity. If you've energised yourself on your way there in your own unique way, then this pressure will be relatively low, and you will feel more in the flow and more self-assured to be positively sociable and fun, until your energy runs out. But one of the things I like to do when I arrive, for extra comfort, is to scan the room for my spot. The place I will make my temporary home, my little introverts sanctuary. It will usually be somewhere seated, like the end of a sofa or a curious nook within the room. Somewhere that I am not exposed 360 degrees, rather only 90 degrees (!). This is where you will hopefully find the other introverts; you can build a small temporary alliance and make some lovely and understanding friends. You can also usually get away with sitting quietly, observing the party from these points, without the pressure to talk and people noticing, which I often find very enjoyable. Extroverts will swing by sporadically, to check you out, which is fun and appreciated, but they won't stick around for long because of the wealth of other social opportunities that lie out there in party-land.

4. Perfect your conversation strategy

Sometimes, as introverts, after spending a long time inside our heads, being quiet, it can be so uncomfortable to go from that, straight into expressing ourselves verbally. It can be as physically uncomfortable as standing under a freezing cold shower. One of my strategies is to lean in to the opportunity to learn something new. Everybody has a story to tell. When you don't feel like talking, get others to tell you stories, show interest in them, ask them questions, make them feel special. Get them to give you the energy that you are currently lacking. It really does work.

5. Ration the party-time

Finally, remember, party-time does not have to last forever. Maintaining independence can also mean setting the boundaries of how long you agree internally to commit to the party. The phrase 'we're gonna party all night long!' is far too dominant in modern society and really does neglect at least half of the population. Why is it never 'we're gonna sit quietly and read or write all night long'? It just doesn't have the same ring to it, when in fact, to introverts, that is a full-on rave inside the head, all night long. Again, take ownership of your precious time and energy. Two hours is ample time to give a quality version of yourself to other people at a party. And if you combine the tips above then this will give you a surprisingly pleasant and manageable evening, done your way. It will also make the thought of going to a party more of a game of out-smarting your inner-introvert rather than being a victim to it.

These are just my thoughts and ideas but I would be really interested to hear yours. Do these things resonate with you? Do you have your own special tips for coping with situations that make you uncomfortable?

Life Coaching is about reimagining your life, being creative, thinking outside the box, breaking expectations. Give it a go – you never know what might happen!

Take care for now.


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