People say the holidays are the happiest time of the year, but let’s be real, for introverts December is the most exhausting month by far. Not only do we have to make conversation with people for hours on end, we have to do it every other day.
First at Thanksgiving, then with colleagues at the work break up (that’s Aussie for what Americans call a ‘get together’, ‘hangout’, or ‘kickback’), followed by the wedding of your second cousin who insisted on getting married in December. Then there’s the crème da la crème – the worship team break up, where hipsters compete to wear the most ironic Christmas jumper (The person who wore the Relient K ‘Let It Snow’ sweater definitely won, FYI).
It’s exhausting. And just when you think it’s over, BAM, New Year’s Eve is here and we’re expected to see people again. Extroverts are living the dream, but by the time December 31 rolls around, I’d happily roll into a ball under a blanket fort, turn off my phone, and binge watch all eight seasons of Gilmore Girls in one week.
Sadly this is not an option, so introverts have to dig deep this time of year and fight for survival. From one introvert to another, please know this: I feel your pain. And in the words of Jon Foreman, if you want to “thrive, not just survive,” then you can, friend.
This handy guide to surviving New Years Eve will save you from unnecessary awkward conversations and brain drain. So grab your iPhone and start taking notes – you’ll need to look back on this when your well-meaning friend tries to pair you up with the only other eligible single in the church for the New Years Eve kiss.
Before you go to the party, emotionally prepare for what will happen in advance. Yes, you will see people and be expected to speak to them. Yes, you will have to ask questions and will probably hear some bizarre political banter. It’s okay. Stick to topics you’re comfortable with, and when all else fails talk about the weather. Or ask leading questions – people love to talk about themselves.
Have the logistics down
You may have rolled your eyes at those ‘safe partying’ rules your parents laid out for you as a teenager, but as a twenty or thirty something they are a get out of jail free card from long and energy-consuming events.
Plan your transport to and from the party in advance, and figure out who the designated driver is. Consider who will be there, how much people will drink and when it’s best to make an exit. Having the logistics down will keep you from catastrophizing about a situation you are in complete control of.
Schedule ‘alone’ time
You don’t have to schedule time to ‘recharge’ every hour on the hour (that’s just weird), but keep tabs on your energy so you can tap out every couple of hours as needed. Go to the bathroom, check your phone or find a quiet room full of other introverts where you can all sit in silence and watch TV.
Have a ‘safe person’ around
Outside of the church they call this a ‘wing man’, but you don’t need a matchmaker, just someone to bail you out of prolonged and exhausting conversations. Tee up a friend before you arrive at the party, and ask them to join any awkward discussions that arise before you melt into a puddle of anxiety. Or have them call you away for something ‘important’ – like petting the host’s doggo.
Scope out the location
Any introvert will tell you there are a few things essential to survival: the snack table, a TV/place to listen to music, a power plug and a pet.
Locate these things as soon as you arrive, and not only will you find a bunch of other introverts crowded around these meccas, but you can comfortably meander between them throughout the party while still appearing socially engaged (even if you are playing Candy Crush).
Practice positive self talk
Despite how you may feel, you have New Year’s Eve down. You’ve done it for 20+ years with class and conversation, and you will do it again. Amp yourself up for the night with positive self talk like, “I can do this” and “I am an interesting person”. Psychologists swear by this stuff. Want to get more spiritual? Start quoting scripture (Philippians 4:13 is a winner), or just watch one of John Crists’ Bible Verse Lady videos. Whatever floats your boat.
Have a positive mindset
New Years Eve is a celebration – and you can enjoy the festivities! Go into the night determined to have a good time, and make it your goal to meet one new person. Give yourself permission to try something new, whether it be food, dancing or an outfit you’ve never worn before. Take time to recharge when needed, hang with your friends, and enjoy the party. It’s go time.