These Memes Perfectly Explain the Thoughts Introverts Have at Holiday Parties

an "introvert" (dog wearing a Santa hat) is exhausted at a holiday party

Oh god oh god oh god. It’s today, isn’t it? The holiday party. And there’s another one tomorrow. A red and green glitter bomb of social obligation has exploded all over your calendar. Sure, you love your family, but truth is you’re an introvert, and big parties are utterly exhausting — even on those rare occasions when you actually enjoy them. Loud, crowded rooms and another round of “So what’s new with you?” leave you dreaming of a white Christmas at home in your pajamas.

But the holidays only happen one time each year, so you’ll rock around the Christmas tree anyway. Nevertheless, you’ll probably have some thoughts like these. Introverts, can you relate?

Thoughts Introverts Have at Big Holiday Parties

1. Is it too late to cancel?


Saying yes to the big holiday get-together seemed like a good idea at the time when you RSVP’d. You even threw in some exclamation points (soooo excited to see everyone!!) and volunteered to bring your famous apple dumplings. But that was two weeks ago, and you were younger then, and full of hope. In a moment of panic and desperation, you consider canceling because you’re “sick.” Besides, didn’t you promise your dog you’d watch Netflix together tonight?

2. Sigh. I’m going.

a meme about feeling guilty about not going to the party

It is your family we’re talking about. And it is the holidays. That’s the double-edged sword of being an introvert — as soon as you even start thinking about skipping the party, you feel guilty (even if it would be better for your mental health). You don’t want to let anyone down, even if it exhausts you.

3. I’ll only go for a little while.

a meme that reads I came, I saw, I left early

Yes, that’s it — the perfect compromise! You’ll say your hellos, grab some food, and even give nosy Aunt Gladys some basic updates about your life with a smile on your face. Then you’ll hurry on your way, like a certain snowman when the sun was hot that day.

4. I can do this, I can do this…

a meme that reads introverts don't get ready for a party, they gather strength for a party

You’re doing this. You’re really doing this. You take a few deep breaths, soak in the last few moments of peace and quiet, and then swear on Aunt Gladys’s fruit cake that you will return home soon.

5. It’s so loud!

people are too damn loud meme

You’re at the party, and it’s SO. LOUD. Christmas carols are blaring. Everyone is talking at once. Your inner introvert is begging to escape to somewhere quieter, because the noise feels like an actual physical force overwhelming your body. You’re no Grinch, but now you understand why he chose to live alone with his dog on a mountain (it was quiet!).

6. Small talk, whyyyyyy…

a meme about making small talk

Let’s face it. Small talk has never been your thing. All that celebrity gossip and chitchat about your weekend plans just seems so, well, boring. As an introvert, you’d rather talk about big ideas, or at the very least, something that feels authentic and real. At the party, you try to make socially acceptable chitchat, but it quickly veers into… something else entirely.

7. This is getting awkward…

…so, so awkward.

8. There’s so much going on that I’m zoning out.

Introvert Doodles daydreaming introvert meme
Marzi Wilson/Introvert Doodles

Despite how it might look to others, you’re not angry, bored, or depressed — you’re turning inward to screen out the crushing amount of stimulation. Noise, a flurry of activity, and endless social social cues to read can simply be too much for introverts, who, by definition, excel in more low-key environments.

9. But seriously, how long?

meme how long can I stay in the bathroom

It’s quiet and you’re alone and you don’t have to make any small talk here.

10. It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that…

why I want to go home meme
Marzi Wilson/Introvert Doodles

Fake smiling. Waaaaay too much fake smiling at this holiday party.

11. A pet! I’m saved!

Gemma Correll

Many introverts are ardent animal-lovers because these four-legged saviors make the perfect companions to us. They give us love without expecting small talk and fake smiling (see above) in return — and unlike some extroverts, they’ll never talk your ear off or accuse you of being too quiet.

12. Hey, sorry, can’t talk, too busy checking my phone!

my brain at most parties meme
Buzzfeed

Pulling out your phone and pretending to be engrossed in it is a classic introvert move.

13. I’m actually having fun! And then…

Sometimes even we introverts surprise ourselves by having fun at a social event. There’s something nice about feeling included (even if you did spend half the time dodging your family’s questions about your personal life and quietly checking your phone). Plus, socializing aside, the holidays can be a time of warmth and nostalgia. At the party, maybe you even found another introvert to talk to — or an extrovert who respected your quiet vibe. It can feel good to connect, even for us fiercely independent introverts.

But then the inevitable happens. Even if you enjoyed yourself, you’re still an introvert — and that means a shorter social battery. Time to go home and charge!

14. Seriously, I have zero energy left.

my social battery at parties meme
Debbie Tung/Where’s My Bubble

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just the way you’re wired.

15. If only extroverts understood what it’s like to be “peopled out…”

introvert tools meme
Aaron Caycedo-Kimura/INFJoe

…because a lot of them don’t.

16. I’m so exhausted that I don’t even want to say goodbye.

ways for introverts to leave a party meme
Kayla Yandoli/Sally Tamarkin/Will Varner/Buzzfeed

Dang, you forgot to pack your invisibility cloak. Nevertheless, it’s time to get outta here. Hopefully no one hits you with a “you’re leaving so soon!” as you quietly say goodbye.

17. I’m home! Hallelujah, I’m home!

College Humor

On the left — what it looks like. On the right — how it feels.

18. And I am completely and utterly exhausted.

The party’s technically over, but that doesn’t mean you magically have your energy back. In fact, that’s when the real exhaustion hits. Cue the dreaded introvert hangover. For many introverts, social burnout is not just mental and emotional exhaustion but also physical fatigue with very real symptoms in their bodies — like headaches, muscle aches, and/or a general sense of feeling unwell.

19. Because this is how my brain works:

the introvert's brain meme
Sarah’s Scribbles/Sarah Andersen

A WHOLE DAY.

20. Me:

meme every time I socialize

Can we make it 12?

21. Just back away slowly and close the door.

alone time is for everyone's safety meme

You close your bedroom door and breathe in the sweet relief of solitude. If you have kids, you attempt to shuffle them off on your spouse for a while so you can be completely alone. That’s because there’s only one cure for an introvert hangover: downtime. Alone in your room, you’re free of the expectations of others and in your most comfortable, natural habitat as an introvert. Yes, you need this time to decompress — seriously, it’s for everyone’s safety!

Introverts, how’s your holiday going? Let me know in the comments. 

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Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. Jenn is a contributor to Psychology Today, HuffPost, Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution, Upworthy, The Mighty, The Muse, Motherly, and a number of other outlets. She has appeared on the BBC and in Buzzfeed and Glamour magazine. Jenn started Introvert, Dear because she wanted to write about what it was like being an introvert living in an extrovert's world. Now she's on a mission: to let introverts everywhere know it's okay to be who they are.