For the average introvert, parties aren’t a lot of fun.
Because they feel happiest when spending time alone or in small groups, a large, noisy party is their idea of hell.
If you are an introvert, the prospect of attending a big gathering might fill you with dread.
Unfortunately, there will be times you feel obliged to go to a party or networking event, either for the sake of your relationships or keeping in touch business.
Therefore, you need to develop a toolbox of strategies that will help you handle any party.
Here are six ways you can survive:
1. Recharge before you leave the house
Set aside a few hours before the party to relax, preferably alone.
You could take a walk in a secluded location, read a few chapters of your favorite book, or work on a craft project. If you feel nervous, a vigorous workout will help you feel less jittery.
Eat nourishing meals and drink plenty of water; taking care of your body will ground you.
Avoid caffeine, because it will stimulate your nervous system.
Don’t drink alcohol either;
although some people feel that having a couple of drinks helps them loosen up, relying on substances to help you through challenging events isn’t a healthy habit.
2. Get there early
Someone has to be first to arrive, and it may as well be you.
Getting to the party early means you can chat to the host before other people turn up, and it also allows you to strike up a conversation with a small group before the party gets busy.
By getting acquainted with people early on in the evening, you’ll find it easier to mingle with them later.
Offer to help out with prepping the food and drinks, setting the table, or choosing the music.
Your hosts will be glad of the extra help, and keeping busy is a great distraction.
3. Team up with a fellow introvert – or an extrovert
Do you know an introverted friend or family member who will also be in attendance?
Arrange to arrive at the same time, and agree to stick together for the evening.
You’ll both have someone to talk to, and you can expand your conversation to include others.
Alternatively, you could ask an extroverted friend to act as a wingman or wingwoman.
Choose someone who is at ease in almost any social situation and is happy to introduce you to other guests.
This strategy will help you feel secure, but it’s best not to rely too heavily on one person to help you cope with parties.
You’ll feel more confident if you know you are capable of handling a social event by yourself.
4. Make sure you can choose when to leave
Introverts can thrive in social situations, but they find them draining, even when surrounded by those they love and trust.
The average extrovert is happy to party into the early hours, but two or three hours at a party is quite long enough for most introverts.
There’s nothing worse than feeling trapped in a social situation.
As an introvert, you will feel much more comfortable if you can get yourself home, whenever you like.
If you can’t travel to and from the venue by yourself, at least choose another introverted friend to drive you home.
5. Focus on making other people feel good
The most attractive, interesting conversationalists aren’t those who have the most exciting stories to tell, but those who make other people feel as though their own stories are interesting.
In other words, set out to help your conversation partner feel special.
Ask them questions about their lives and opinions, and show that you are keen to listen.
If you aren’t sure how to begin, ask a new acquaintance how they know the hosts. You can then ask them how they spend most of their time.
This is preferable to asking “What do you do for a living?” because it allows someone to steer the conversation in the direction that’s most comfortable for them.
For instance, if they are unemployed, it gives them a chance to talk about a hobby instead.
6. Hang out with children and animals
Small children and animals make no social demands, they are great conversation starters, and they are a wonderful distraction from the hustle and bustle of a busy party.
Offer to soothe an anxious dog or hold a baby, and the party will suddenly feel easier.
With these strategies in place, you might even enjoy yourself
By preparing yourself and approaching a party with an open mind, you’re more likely to have a good time.
You may never be a social butterfly, but you could meet a new friend or business contact.
With practice, you can learn to become comfortable interacting with new people.