Despite putting my true efforts as an introverted personality, I sometimes find myself wearing pants and, yes, talking to people.
How to cope with socializing! Having to go out and socialize is a fact of life. Even though, as an introvert, I try to avoid going to things that require me to put on pants and talk to people.
So, in spite of my best efforts, I sometimes find myself wearing pants and, yes, talking with people. As we all have to attend these events from time to time to secure our jobs. And for the happiness of our spouse or of our child. Going to receptions, weddings and school plays are an unavoidable fact of life.
As an introverted personality, getting prepared is the key to plan for social events with more comfort and less stress. I have a mental toolbox where I can keep my coping strategies. Like most of the toolboxes, it has some well-used tools, some are never tried tools. Some tools “I might need that someday”.Before going to an event, I mentally review a few coping methods from my toolbox.
Here are the 7 tools that I most frequently use.
How To Cope When You Have to Socialize
1. Keep away awkward moments by volunteering to help out.
If it’s possible for you, contact the host of the event and offer to help out in some way. Maximum of stress about going to a party or gathering revolves around my discomfort with awkwardly standing around. I think that it is like chit chatting about things that introverts dislike. Since it is not possible to have a deep conversation during a social event, I mainly tend to stand around a lot wondering how not to look stupid.
Suddenly I tripped onto this coping tool when a hostess in pain, begged me to keep the buffet trays full during a party. Switching to the time, I had a reason to talk to people, not to talk to people, and to walk away from people. And that’s perfect.
2. Decide in advance how long you will stay (and communicate your timeline to anyone attending with you).
I have certain characteristics to be a fairly flexible person and I’m not overly fond of strict schedules. Because of this in the past, I didn’t think about how long I would stay at a social event. I would feel pressure to stay far longer than I was comfortable – long after the dreaded “introvert hangover” had set in. As a result, I get tired, mentally drained, and grumpy far after the actual event has ended.
Spurred on by this vigorous social exhaustion (physically and mentally tired), I decided to do a pre-planning. And choose a fixed period of time to be in the event that would work with my introversion. I made a mistake, that on the side of a shorter amount of time because I figured I could always stay a little bit longer if I wanted to be.
Planning your leaving time before going to attend the event is especially needed if you’re attending it with your extroverted spouse or with a friend. Co-partner of you, may want to stay far longer than you do (as it is in many cases with the extroverts). So make sure to talk before the event (before you start getting angry or start shooting death rays from your eyes at the extrovert who doesn’t want to leave it).
If you both get to agree on your departure time, then it’s good. If you’re unable to agree, then drive a different car by yourself.
3. Look after off protests by letting people know how long you’re staying.
Let everyone know how long you’re staying. Everyone of us knows how it goes. There is a party, there are drinks and food, the music is playing, and everybody is having a great time.
When we try to leave, we get attacked with, “No, don’t go! We’re having too much fun! You haven’t even met Kriss yet!”. If everyone knows when you’re leaving, there’s much less crowd around you when you go.
4. Have an inarguable reason for leaving.
Telling of leaving…. make sure to give an inarguable reason.
I have to be careful with my inarguable reason, as I try very hard not to lie. No one likes a person who lies. It should be 100% effective, “My kid/spouse/or pet is sick”. While that excuse is a guarantee to 100% and get you out of the door. Discomforting questions tend to arise which require a perpetuation of the lie and possible collusion by your kid/spouse/pet.
I employ a creative use of words. Reason for leaving the party I use is “I need to spend some time with my family/kids/spouse”. It never hurts to decorate the excuse with a not claiming attention for oneself, “you know how it is” shrug of the shoulders.
5. Collude with a friend
Use your friend as your responsible buddy. Get your departure time as of your friend/inarguable reason for leaving. Nothing blows your cover like a friend who talks too much. And announcing that you’re leaving early because the pleasant chitchat has sucked away your will to live. It is okay to involve your friend in collusion because that’s what friends are for.
6. Prepare your elevator speech before the time so you’re ready for random talks.
A teacher of mine taught me about creating an elevator speech. He asked me to be able to talk about my work in the amount of time one spends in an elevator. Though I’m an introvert. Popular for my word minimalism, distilling my job description into 2 minutes was challenging.
7. When all tricks fails, escape to the bathroom.
No one will ever question when you excuse yourself to the restroom.
The restroom escape is a temporary excuse. After some time you will have to leave it and join the party. Also monopolizing the restroom is a good way to become really unpopular quickly.