This can be an especially draining time of year for introverts, between family gatherings, work parties, and other get-togethers.

The more introverted you are, the more taxing the holidays are likely to be. Extraverts get their energy from people (often from the willing introvert!) while people drain introverts of energy. It has nothing to do with “liking” people, it has to do with the means and mode of relating to people. A party full of strangers, semi-acquaintances and small talk isn’t the introvert’s cup of tea. (Sitting at home along with a toddy in front of the fireplace listening to Luciano Pavorotti’s Christmas concert is not the extravert’s cup of tea!)

Source: The Holiday Rule-of-Thumb, by Susan Dunn, MA, Personal Life and EQ Coach

If you choose not to participate in all the festivities, you may find yourself trying to convince extraverted relatives and co-workers that you’re not Ebenezer Scrooge! Here are a few practical coping strategies – some of them may just work for you:

  • Avoid attending back-to-back events whenever possible. Try to allow yourself at least one day (preferably more) at home between parties
  • OR Try to squeeze as many parties into a two to three day period as possible, then go into hiding for a week afterwards.
  • To get out of attending the staff lunch, offer to be the person who stays behind to answer the phones.
  • If it’s “your turn” to host the family gathering but you hate having people “in your space,” try to talk someone else into having it at their place, in exchange for you supplying the food and drink.
  • If you just hate going out and don’t mind having people in your space, offer to host the family gathering.
  • Make an appearance at any functions you feel obligated to attend, but only stay an hour or so, just long enough to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, etc.
  • When the rest of the family goes to the living room or rec room after dinner, offer to wash dishes so you can have some quiet time in the kitchen. If that’s not possible, offer to walk the dog, or go for a walk by yourself.