Introverts can get a bad rap over the holidays if they’re not careful. Which is why as a fellow extroverted introvert – who loves social engagements but needs a powerful and quiet recharge to maintain lustre – I’ve put together a few survival tips heading into the holidays for sneaking out of the social scene to get ‘you time’, without being a total jerk about it.
In years past, I might have written about “Songs that everyone can hit when Christmas Caroling” or “Favorite Christmas Desert Recipes to Try,” in which case I would have pages to write on the glory that is sugar cookies. This year however I decided to write about something that feels a little more honest, and possibly helpful to others, in my holiday survival guide for introverts.
You might stop and say, but Megan, you Love the holidays! The decorating, the cooking, the time spent together – and during most of the time you’d be absolutely right. However this guide is for those few moments during each special and unique holiday season, that you need to leave the room before shouting obscenities and family-tie-breaking-phrases at your family members.
Now that the extroverts have stopped reading, let’s dive in.
Upon arrival, for example, you greet everyone with a smile and a hug – however it’s potentially been a long journey and you need to unwind a little before you can really settle in. This is your key moment! Offer to take all of the bags to the room first, for everyone there – and then stay in your room as long as you need to set up. You’ll look courteous, and assuming you utilize your knees and bend at the hip to avoid throwing out your back, everyone will be grateful to you for bringing in their over-stuffed luggage as well.
Once you’re in your room, it’s safe to bet that the remaining family dawdlers have carried on the conversation, and merciful God willing, perhaps even filled out any of the precious details from your own life that you weren’t looking forward to answering: 1) are you dating anyone? 2) do you have kids yet, and why not? 3) how’s work? It’s very likely you’ll be consulted for details on these topics in the future, though having the basics covered in advance can’t hurt, right?
The next step involves being really into something – doesn’t entirely matter what, as long as it’s not salacious or drugs (or drinking!). Example: Mom asks if you can help your aunt with her sewing gear, you want to deflect without being rude? Answer: you can’t right now, because you’re really into this <book/card game with your cousin/how-to guide for multiplying/dividing backwards> and want to utilize the time off to read it. This excuse can be used in any number of circumstances, with any number of possible activities – though keep in mind if you don’t help out from time to time, you are abusing this privilege and being a jerk.
Though the “very into something” tactic can be useful, it is not infallible and you can be told, “no.” Luckily there is a key to deploying this strategy: the more holiday oriented the task, the more likely it will be to get approval instead of a demotion on your priorities list. The only downside to this is that you’ll have to produce something half-way decent, or you’ll be ridiculed senselessly into never again undergoing the task at all.
A few examples:
- Building a snowman with your little brother
- Something you saw on Pinterest and wanted to try out
- Completing a Christmas word-search in the newspaper (these may be harder to get a-hold of today however than drugs)
- Making paper chains with leftover wrapping paper, or ornaments, or really any type of Christmas decoration
The cheaper the task, the better as it will be more feasible to attempt and ideally, perfect. You need only attempt the task honestly, then put it down in favor of something else, like a book, or Netflix, or needlessly scrolling on your phone. Alas, Freedom. You may now celebrate the holidays with family, while getting really into the Christmas spirit, all alone. You’re welcome!
If all else fails, be sure to check out The Office, specifically the one where Jim Halpert discusses his how-to guide in leaving parties early, while still being memorable enough as not to offend the host and guests: https://imgur.com/gallery/leYO5ni.
As for all of my fellow extroverted introverts, and even introverted extroverts out there (and everyone in between), Happy Holidays, and Good luck!