Right now, you’re probably in the midst of an intense social schedule. From work Christmas parties to family get-togethers, it may seem like everyone wants a piece of you before December 25.
Which is great, for people who like people. But for those who leave social events zapped of all energy and would happily spend New Year’s Eve at home re-watching season 1 of Twin Peaks, it can be pretty painful.
Unfortunately, pulling a no-show for Grandma’s Christmas lunch is out of the question, so here are some ways to help you make it to January 1.
Assign yourself a job: This strategy won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if small talk isn’t your strong point, volunteer to help the host. Passing around canapés, for example, gives you a quick exit from awkward conversations. Or set yourself up making cocktails at the drinks station – you’ll become extremely popular with revellers without ever having to leave your comfortable spot in the corner. If the event has professional waitstaff, position yourself near the food table and watch the new friendships grow as you all wait for the next round of chicken satay skewers.
Find a party buddy: A pre-planned party pal will firstly make sure you turn up, and that you have a good time. Preferably, this buddy should be that friend who socialise to party and has no trouble infiltrating new groups. You can piggyback off them for an easy way to meet new people by offering your own input to conversations.
Accept that small talk is a fact of life: You can’t meet new people without making small talk. It may sound boring but simple questions like 'Where do you live?'; 'What do you do for work?'; 'What do you think of the food?'; or 'Have you seen the latest Star Wars film?' are all quick ways to find common ground.
Schedule a bit of quiet time before and after your gathering: This is hard for extroverts to believe but introverts recharge by being alone. Schedule in a bit of time after a party to do an activity your own, such as reading your favourite book or watching Love Actually for the tenth time. Setting aside time to unwind will give you something to look forward to later, which means you won’t feel too trapped during the event.
Work out an escape route: The best bit about public transport? You have to work to its schedule. Having an ‘out’ like, 'My train leaves in five minutes', is a legitimate way to exit a party. It can be a bit limiting if you have arranged to get a ride with friends, so work out an alternative way to get home.
The ‘phantom exit’ is acceptable: Depending on the event, slipping away quietly is a perfectly legitimate way to exit a party. It’s best used on vague acquaintances or work colleagues but, again, not a great strategy for Grandma’s Christmas lunch.
Don’t say yes to everything: OK, this one isn’t going to work on December 25 but the best bit about the festive season is the chances of being ‘double booked’ are high. Not only is it a busy time of year in your social life, you're probably being slammed at work too. So if you're Just. Too. Tired to party, don’t force yourself. Use the excuse of another engagement and schedule a refreshed catch up in the New Year.
But don’t say no all the time: Sometimes the best parties are the ones you force yourself to go to. Give yourself an hour to get a feel for the party – if you’re really not feeling it, hang around politely until an acceptable time to leave. Though with everyone’s festive spirits running high, chances are you’ll have a good time.