Updated: Jan 19
Easy Do's & Don't's to Keep Everyone Celebrating All Season Long!
The coming holiday season is looming dangerously over the heads of introverts everywhere. While others are planning out their rounds for visits, parties, and celebrations we introverts - yes, me too - are sitting in a cozy armchair with a good book and a hot drink, dreading the inevitable. The time WILL come that we are expected to attend and participate in the social element of the season.
If you’re an introvert then you already know that you are going to need to pre-plan some extra quiet time in your daily routines to get you through the coming season but if you have no idea what all this fuss is about then you might reside on the other end of the spectrum - leaning more on extroversion. That is AOK, in fact, it’s awesome, and it’s a major driving force to creating a sense of community and jubilant togetherness year-round.
However, you may wonder why introverts have to be so distant, at times, or maybe assume that we don’t even want to be around our family and friends, even during these holiday festivities. Don’t we know how important it is to love and be loved? Don’t we know that’s what the season is all about?
We DO know this and we want to be with our family and friends to celebrate and rejoice in the coming events BUT (and this is a big but) we also know that it will leave us feeling exorbitantly exhausted and inexcusably irritable which is no fun for anyone. So, it’s really important for our loved ones to recognize and respond accordingly to the needs of their introverted counterparts.
Here are a few simple Do’s and Don’t’s for how to navigate the holiday season with your introvert:
Do allow for space and acceptance if/when your introvert needs to leave early from an event.
Do keep your introvert in the holiday loop, they want to be there, just maybe not as long/often as others.
Do engage them with interesting conversation, small talk is more exhausting
Don’t pressure your introvert to do more than they feel comfortable with. They may withdraw and be forced to miss other events in an attempt to regain lost energy.
Don’t ignore/exclude your introvert on the assumption that an event will be too much for them. Let them choose what is worthy of their energies.
Don’t assume that your introvert can’t get the party started. If they’ve chosen to invest their energy into having a good time with you, soak it up! You clearly mean a lot to them.
In the end, a little understanding and empathy can go a long way. It’s easy for an introvert to become drained and when they’re pressured and pushed beyond their capacity, they have a high risk of burn out. Burn out can look different for everyone but an introvert often becomes reclusive and may be forced to miss out on events and activities that they would love to be a part of.
As an introvert, I like to manage my energies by having a detailed plan of the weekly and monthly events coming up so that mental and emotional prep is possible. When plans change and new energy consumers pop up out of the blue, an introvert may excuse themselves early or be forced to make the difficult decision to decline a visit with friends and loved ones. One of my coping mechanisms is to alter get-togethers to accommodate for quiet times and limit potential hyper-draining activities. Changing a house party to a coffee date could slow the social drain of your introvert and allow them to participate in more fun festivities.
With everyone now on the same page, we - introverts and extroverts throughout the spectrum - can celebrate and enjoy the season together. Hopefully, this holiday won’t look so intimidating for my fellow introverts now that they know their extroverted counterparts have a better understanding of how we function and how to celebrate with us throughout the merrymaking.
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