When it comes to socializing, introverts often feel like they have to pretend to be someone they’re not. At holiday parties or after-work happy hours, we play the extrovert, chatting and pushing ourselves to be more outgoing than we really feel. Sometimes this is good and necessary — we can’t shut ourselves off from all human contact. We need others, too. But putting on a fake extroverted persona can take a toll on us. We feel like we’re acting inauthentically — are people seeing the real us? Plus, playing the extrovert drains huge amounts of our limited “social” energy. After an hour or two, we become exhausted.
Sophia Dembling, author of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After, suggests finding a balance:
One key to party survival — even pleasure — is to approach them with the mind-set that you will do them your way. In other words, rather than feeling like a failure because you can’t work a party like an extrovert, try approaching parties feeling comfortable with your introversion and introverted ways. That way, you won’t feel like a poor excuse for an extrovert; you’ll feel like a fabulous example of an introvert. After all, the way I see it, the only obligation you have as a party guest is to enjoy yourself. If sitting in a corner and watching is your idea of fun, then fie on anyone who tries to tell you otherwise. You are entitled to party any way you like.
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