An Introverts Guide to Surviving the Holidays

With the holidays just around the corner I am a bit inclined to write a survival guide for my fellow introverts. Being an introvert does not mean we are shy or that we hate people it just means that big family/friend functions exhaust us and we have to have alone time to recharge rather than our counterparts the extroverts that need to be around others in order to become refueled.

With Thanksgiving behind us I can reflect on how once again I was invited to more social functions than usual and I avoided any real breakdowns. Let me clarify before my friends stop inviting me to anything. It wasn't that going to these functions was horrible it is just that when I receive an invitation my natural reaction is never to accept, it is to develop a pit in my stomach and then begin thinking about what will occur at this party or dinner and what will be expected of me. I then force myself to accept because, after all that is the right thing to do and I do love my friends.

Holidays mean lots of friends at once, I prefer one on one coffees or chats but holidays don't allow that because we have people coming in from out of town who of course want to see as many of us as possible so that means "push those three tables together" lunches and "here just squeeze" in chats. As an introvert I too can see the value in that because it means I get to check in with everyone and only have to spend a few hours out of my comfort zone yet after such social overhauls I do often feel like I then need to crawl into a dark room and let my mind work everything out.

Being an introvert, I have two conversations at once; the one I'm having out loud with the other participant and the one that I am having in my mind at my pace where I dissect what was said and relate it to other things and this conversation is completed when I am alone, long after the social function has ended. This second conversation is how I come to understand my friends and the world around me. Many of my books are birthed from these conversations where I can explore the statements from differing angles and reply in a number of ways. So while extroverts have one conversation at a time we introverts have double and we spend much more time with every interaction within ourselves. We question the questions asked of us and then we question our own responses. Most of us have come to respond with a short enough latency that we are not found out when we engage others but please know that all this thinking and cerebral activity is in fact occurring.

I sat down to write a guide for making it through social interactions during the holidays for my fellow introverts but I think I ended up writing an explanation to extroverts. Please be like my friends and let us show up late or leave early but don't stop inviting us. Let us be your unconventional friend because while we may look to the world like that horrible, doesn't have it together friend because we can't arrive early and stay late know that in actuality we love you deeply and we know you better than most because our mind won't let us have it any other way.