Being introverted can be tough at this time of year. All those Christmas parties, family festivities and crazy shopping centres can be horribly draining. Stir in a cup of social awkwardness and a spoonful of shyness and you have one batch of dreaded horribleness.
I’m introverted. I need time alone to recharge and re-centre myself. Often. I’m also shy and don’t do well at all with small talk. I much prefer to sit on the sidelines and observe, but that doesn’t go down too well in social situations! However, when I do try and mingle and small talk, I usually end up with a case of foot-in-mouth or my saliva tends to dry up like the Sahara and I can’t even manage to speak.
So what do I do at this time of year?
Run and hide.
Okay, not really. Although I do feel like it.
The truth is, I usually build myself up with so much anxiety and fear of these situations that I have a melt-down. At times I have willed a bout of gastro to come my way. Really. But honestly, the events aren’t anywhere near as bad as I imagine they will be.
Sometimes I actually enjoy myself.
So you think that after years of running on this mouse-wheel of dread I’d realise ‘Hey it’s not that bad!’. You’d think wouldn’t you.
Over the next few weeks we have a few different gatherings to attend and I’m already working myself up about them. That awkward feeling reminds me of school, where I never felt like I fit in. I know now, I have grown into my own shell. I’m happy with who I am. And I’m relatively confident. Again, this is something that you’d think would automatically cure my anxiety for social situations. It doesn’t though.
I’m going to try really hard to skip the anxiety this time. I’m going to skip right through the melt-down, and through the parties, right to the feeling of relief I feel after it’s all done and dusted. Relief that it’s over, and relief that it wasn’t as bad as I conjured it up to be.
That’s my plan. It’s not foolproof, but it’s the only one I’ve got!
Are you a shy, socially awkward introvert? Or an extroverted, outgoing party lover?
Do you have any tips for me?