A group of people in a room low-lit with purple celebrating at Christmas parties.
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How to deal with Christmas parties when you’re an introvert

14 Dec 2018

Is your Christmas party fast approaching and filing you with fear? Then use this guide to help get you through.

Listen, Christmas parties are a bit of a minefield for everyone. Being put in a room with your colleagues, often your boss included, and then told to drink alcohol feels a little bit like a test.

Yet the Christmas party will be especially trying on the nerves if you’re on the introverted side.

The meaning of the word ‘introvert’ is in a state of flux right now and has veered off from its original applications in human personality theories in the realm of psychology, such as those of Carl Jung, who popularised the extraversion-introversion continuum. Introverts tend to appear more reserved, shy, reticent and quiet. They are drained more so than energised by socialisation. As you can expect, parties aren’t their vibe.

Yet just because you don’t usually conform to the description above doesn’t mean it won’t, at some point, be relevant to you. Sunless days and inclement weather will sap the vigour from even the peppiest and most bubbly of individuals. You may not be in the mood for celebrations despite normally being the life of the party.

So, how do you muddle through painlessly? For one, ask yourself if you really have to go. If it’s the annual Christmas party, you’re better off going. If it’s a smaller event, you may as well skip out and conserve your limited energy. Whatever you do, be clear about your intention. There’s no point promising to attend something only to pull out at the last minute. This will lead to dashed expectations and, likely, irritated colleagues.

If you have one colleague that you know a little better than the rest, attach yourself to their side. You can confide your anxieties to them prior to the event. They’ll understand, and may even relate. Having a ‘wingperson’ will help reduce tension.

As much as possible, because often these things are accidental, try not to get incredibly drunk. Wanting to use liquid courage as a crutch during a nerve-racking experience is understandable, but do you really want to wake up the next morning with a headache, a spotty memory of the night’s events and anxiety bubbling in your chest? If you struggle with parties to begin with, this will only make you dread them more.

For some more advice on surviving work Christmas parties, check out the infographic below.

An infographic about surviving work Christmas parties when you’re introverted

Infographic: Simply Be

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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