An Introvert's Guide: Surviving Parties
As a self proclaimed introvert I understand the struggled of surviving a party. Whether it's simply a friend's birthday or a more formal occasion like a wedding, sometimes it's genuinely hard to understand why people have to throw parties to celebrate when your idea of a fun time is kicking back with a book or your laptop and some tasty snacks. None the less, attendance at such events is usually mandatory to maintain some kind of social life, so we must force ourselves to suck it up and pretend like we're having fun. Below is a list of ten tips that will help you, my fellow introvert, to survive a party and maybe even enjoy yourself!
Number One: Recon.
Before the big day invest a little time and do some recon. Who's going to the party? Will there be alcohol? Is it a dinner? Should you bring snacks? What are other people wearing? Basic knowledge like this can be easily obtained from asking around a little and will help you to feel a lot more secure. Significant amounts of pre-party stress can be avoided if you're able to banish all those "what if I'm not dressed up enough?! What if none of my friends could make it?!" thoughts with solid facts.
Number Two: Prepare Yourself.
Try to clear your schedule a little the day of the party so you can get in some quality alone time. If you've been out socialising all day and your battery is already low then you're going to find that the party is going to be a lot harder to cope with. That being said, don't just bum around the house all day. Try to do something productive, otherwise you'll get bored and start to make yourself nervous with your own thoughts.
Number Three: Car Pooling.
If you have some close friends who are going to the party too then arrange a car pool. It's a perfect way of getting rid of all the "what if I'm too early and no one is there?" thoughts and will mean you can walk in together and find people to talk to together. An added bonus of car pooling is that if you're having pre-party doubts and debating whether you just shouldn't go (don't lie, we've all done it!) your friends are coming to pick you up anyway, so you don't have a choice!! Personally I always find that car pooling is a big stress reducer.
Number Four: Finding Other Introverts.
As soon as you get into the party begin seeking out other introverts. They'll be the ones standing uncomfortably on the edge of the dance floor, or possibly will be wedged into a corner pretending that they don't exist (generally my favourite position). These people will be the ones to talk to if you don't want to johin the weird conga line that's happening or go sit on the couch in between making out couples (hopefully you'll only witness this if you're at a gathering where everyone is under 25). Alternatively, you don't even have to talk to them. You can stand next to them (in a non-creepy way) and simply co-exist with each other, both embracing the other's introverted-ness. Likely the other person will be grateful at this, as it makes them look like they have more friends and are more comfortable than they really are.
Number Five: Making Conversation.
Making conversation can be one of the most daunting parts about a party, but in theory it's quite easy. Try to join in on a group discussion so there's less pressure to actually speak, and you can listen more than you talk if that's what makes you feel comfortable. If possible join a group that you already have a few friends in. They'll most likely introduce you, which means you won't have to. If the subject of the conversation is something you don't know much about, or don't particularly care about it can be tricky. Generally I try to stick it out and wait until the topic changes, but I know others who will just leave straight away and seek out more stimulating people to converse with. Since you're reading this I'm assuming you're an introvert, whicnh means I'm also going to assume that once you're safely in a conversation you're not going to be too picky about what the subject is. I'm also going to go ahead and assume that you're pretty good at retreating into yourself if something doesn't interest you, simply because I am (I think my spirit animal is a turtle). If I'm right about all of that, then your most probable course of action will be to stay into the boring conversation but retreat a little, so you're not really hearing it.
Number Six: Dancing.
Ah yes, dancing. My own personal worst nightmare (well, that might be taking it a bit far but still...). You might love dancing (in which case go right ahead and skip this point), but if you hate it like me then you understand the struggle. If you can try to avoid dancing at all, then don't pressure yourself to do it!! Usually there will be a group of people of the sidelines of the dance floor that you can go and chill with. In the situation where there's not do not freak out. You have two options, go to the nearest bathroom and stay there until the whole dancing thing as died down (generally my preferred option) or try and join in. You don't have to be blessed with Shakira hips to be able to fit in dancing at a party. Bobbing up and down in time with the music and doing random, over-exaggerated arm movements will generally be enough to get you by. Try copying someone near you and eventually you'll start to fit in.
Number Seven: Hiding Place.
If wherever the party is held has a lot of nooks and crannies then you're in luck. If the party gets a little too intense, sneak off and find a sweet hiding place where you can hole up for awhile and play flappy bird on your phone. Try and channel your five year old, hide-and-seek playing self. Bathrooms usually work well, but other people will need to use them at some point. If you want to go all out a cupboard works, but that can be a touch embarrassing if someone finds you. If there's a room dedicated to bags or presents they always work well for me. Backyards are excellent too, though they can often be occupied with smokers. Try to get creative!!
Number Eight: Back Up Plan.
Having a solid back up plan for leaving will not only reduce stress but will mean that you'll never get stuck at a party when you really don't want to be there. If you're feeling like it's all getting too much, you can't find a promising hiding place, you just need to get out but you're going home with a friend and they don't want to leave yet, it can be a scary situation. Before going to the party check up with a close friend or s family member and ask whether they could drop by and get you if things look ugly. Most likely they'll say yes, but if they don't then look up the local public transport time tables so you can make a quick getaway if needed. Now, I'm not saying that taking a bus home from a dodgy part of town at one in the morning is an excellent idea, but if it's your only option then you really don't have much of a choice.
Number Nine: Cool Down.
Once you get home make sure you allow a cool down period. Kick back with a cup of tea and a book to recharge a little. Maybe go for a quiet walk and reflect on how the party went. Maybe you made a new friend, or maybe you managed to actually enjoy yourself. Celebrate the small victories!
Number Ten: Congratulate Yourself!
Well done, you just learned how to survive a party!! Was it necessary to include this as a point? Of course not, but I would have been very dissatisfied if I had left the total number to be nine. Ugh.
Have a great day and happy surviving!!