FESTIVE SEASON SURVIVALGUIDE FOR INTROVERTS

While many of us look forward to the festive season’s social round, spare a

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thought for our shyer, quieter friends. By Rachel Vickary.

It’s that time of year when we pop on our best frocks, sparkiest shoes and climb aboard the Christmas Party rollercoaster. ‘Tis the season of breaking diets and brutal hangovers thanks to the festive social whirl and for many people, it’s the best time of year as we eat, drink and get merry with friends old and new.

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However, for all the introverts out there, the Christmas party season can be a nightmare scenario of epic proportions, our quiet friends and loved ones who’d rather stick a fork in their own eye than endure small talk with strangers over the cheese platter and tinsel.

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Remember though, introverts aren’t antisocial. Usually, they’re just extremely shy and can find big crowds of people, particularly large groups of strangers, overwhelming and draining. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for all you introverts out there who are already dreading the party season ahead.

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TAKE A FRIEND WHO ‘GETS YOU’

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If you find parties more stressful that joyful, it can definitely help to take along a friend who understands how you feel. Even better, an understanding friend who’s also an extrovert. They can do the heavy lifting when it comes to party chitchat, (which takes some of the pressure off you), and they’ll completely understand when you want to go and hide in a corner for a bit to recharge.

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BE THE HELPER

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If you have to go to a party alone, and the idea of awkwardly standing in a huddle with strangers is freaking you out, be a party helper. Not only will the hosts and hostesses love you for helping out, it gives you something to do. It’s much easier to be social and jolly if your hands are full of canapes, or you’re helping out by collecting dirty plates and glasses. A quick hello and a big smile as you whisk past with your hands are full can make you look and feel social, without the burden of forcing the small talk. “Gosh I’d love to stay and chat but I simply MUST get these glasses back to the kitchen!”

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FIND THE DOG – SERIOUSLY!

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No, seriously, find the dog. Dogs are great wingmen at parties. If your party host has one, make friends with it immediately. Bribe it if necessary. That way, whenever you’re feeling stuck or stressed, you can pat the dog which is great for lowering cortisol levels (stress and adrenalin) while giving you something to do. Plus, it’s easier to strike up a conversation with a stranger if you’re also patting the dog. Genius!

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EAT MORE CHEESE!

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Not that we ever really need an excuse to scoff more cheese at a party but taking your time at the nibbles table, as you slowly try out all the different offerings, can take up a huge chunk of time, and keeps you occupied.

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FIND A HIDEY HOLE

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A few minutes time out in the garden, the bathroom or a quiet corner looking at the view can give you some much-needed time to recharge and take a break.

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LEAVE YOUR PHONE ALONE

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When you’re feeling particularly awkward, it can be super tempting to look at your phone, but avoid the temptation as it can look really rude to be on your phone at a party.

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SET A START AND FINISH TIME

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Knowing when you can go home to your own space and sanctuary can make a party or social function seem a little more manageable. Set yourself a definite finish time – perhaps order the taxi or Uber for a specific time – and stick to it. If you’re with an extrovert friend, give them a 60 minute and a 30-minute countdown warning so you’re not standing around waiting for them to say goodbye to their hundreds of brand-new friends.

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DRESS TO KILL

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Remember, if we look good, we feel good. So maybe treat yourself to a new outfit, blow wave or pedicure to give you that extra boost of confidence. And, even if the party is a total bust, you’ll still have that fabulous new outfit, great hear and sparkly toes!

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