As the world starts to open up, many of us are starting to reconnect with friends and family, and receiving invitations to socialize after months of isolation. While many people are more than ready to jump back into seeing others face to face, others may be more hesitant.
Maybe you have found that you have enjoyed the solitude and slower pace of quarantine, and feel less than excited about mustering up the energy for situations that drain you (such as large family gatherings). In this article, we will look at what it means to be an introvert and strategies for making it through family events in a way that honors your energy limitations.
What is an Introvert?
Introversion and extroversion are terms used to describe how an individual receives energy. While extroverts receive energy from being around others, introverts are energized through solitude and time alone. Many introverts find that they feel ‘drained’ after social interaction and require time to themselves afterwards in order to regain their equilibrium.
Despite popular misconception, the word introvert is not synonymous with shy, socially awkward, or antisocial. It is crucial to understand that introversion as a personality characteristic is not less desirable than extroversion; they are simply different, with their own unique strengths and challenges. Understanding and embracing one’s personality is key to being able to thrive.
That being said, let’s look at 5 tips for working with your introversion while at a family gathering in a way that allows you to connect while also honoring your individual needs.
4 Tips for Surviving Family Gatherings as an Introvert
- Set boundaries. You might let the host know ahead of time that you can attend the event for an hour or several hours, but will need to leave at that point. If you are on vacation together, be intentional about taking time to recharge in between structured family time. This will allow you to see members of your family without completely depleting your energy bank. If you receive pressure from your family, stand your ground. You don’t have to apologize or offer an explanation for committing to your needs and doing what is best for you.
- Go beyond the surface. Many introverts find that they are quickly drained by small talk, but are more able to withstand social engagements if there is meaningful conversation that goes beyond the surface. This might look like sitting with a family member 1 on 1 and being able to more authentically connect, or engaging the family in a game that facilitates connection or conversing on a meaningful topic.
- Become comfortable with saying no. It can be difficult to say ‘no’ especially to family. It requires practice to become more comfortable with declining invitations if you do not have the energy or capacity – and knowing that it is perfectly okay to honor your limitations.
- Take time to recharge afterwards. Following a family gathering, be sure to allow yourself adequate time and space to do whatever recharges you. Try to clear your schedule for the hours or days following the event in order to replenish your energy again.
By Marie Miguel
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.