11/22/2016 09:26 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Holiday Party: An Introvert's Survival Guide


Holiday parties are torture for introverts. Who's with me?!

All that loud music and making awkward chit-chat whilst standing around in uncomfortable shoes. Rudolf, take the wheel!

I used to dread the holiday season simply because every weekend there was another tinsel-laden-torture-fest to attend. No more! I have crafted a fail-proof holiday party survival plan for introverts.

As a life coach, let me say first and foremost, if you don't want to go to the party, PLEASE, for the love of all that is gingerbread-scented, DON'T GO! You don't have to feel obligated. You don't have to feel badly for not going and you REALLY don't have to make excuses.

Simply repeat after me:
"I'm sorry. I won't be able to make it, but thanks ever so much for the invitation!" End of story.

HOWEVER, if you choose to go, here's how to make any party a pleasure instead of a pain:

1. Dress in something that makes you feel amazing.
There is nothing that will make you feel more self-conscious than a dress you have to keep yanking up (or down). Keep it simple. Keep it classy.

2. Don't overindulge in alcohol.
A little bit of alcohol can be a social lubricant but too much forces you out of your shell. This drains your energy while creating a vulnerability hangover, not to mention the possibility of an actual physical hangover to boot.

3. Take frequent timeouts.
The key to happy holiday party-going for an introvert is energy conservation. Take frequent breaks from the buzzy party atmosphere. Find a quiet spot and spend a few minutes grounding yourself. Step out of your uncomfortable shoes, take a couple of slow breaths, and come back into your body. No need to rush. Once you feel like yourself, you can head back out. Don't forget your shoes! Repeat as often as necessary.

4. Be yourself.
Oh, that old chestnut. But how?! Be a little vulnerable. Risk starting conversations that are actually meaningful or interesting to you. Introverts have trouble with small talk because we value deeper communication; quality not quantity. Try practicing genuine curiosity about the people you meet. Discover the human behind the ugly sweater.

5. Have an exit strategy; use as needed.
When you start to feel tired, over-stimulated, or just out of sorts, it's time to say goodbye. I give you permission to leave whenever you want...even if it's still early. Go on, it's okay. Find the host/hostess thank them for their hospitality and say goodnight.

Now go put on your sassy pants; it's time to party!