In such an outgoing society where parties are one of the top pinnacles of enjoyment, it can be hard for introverts to mold themselves into partygoers when they really prefer to stay home, either alone or with a very few intimate friends. For the classic introvert, staying in is a party in itself! There are many introverts who are invited to join parties they somehow cannot refuse, but there are several ways to cope with the discomfort that a crowd filled with novel faces brings.
Bring someone you know. Do you have an extroverted or even an ambiverted, friend who you feel comfortable with even in crowded places? Bring them along for social support (chances are, they have a stronger desire to attend a social event themselves)! Introverts have a strong distaste for small talk; unfortunately, parties tend to thrive on small talk. Your friend could help break the ice and start conversations in which you can easily slide into when you feel ready. And speaking with your first peer will likely warm you up to speaking to even more people, with or without the social support of your friend.
Wear your favorite outfit. It’s a known belief that we become what we wear and how we style our hair. What kind of ensembles make you feel your most beautiful? Wearing your favorite outfit—along with your best perfume—will give you the confidence to enjoy a party. Make sure to dress comfortably and bring an extra pair of shoes if needed (should you want to dance!).
Dance to your favorite song. A person’s favorite tune always puts them into a good (dancing) mood and dancing to it, whether alone or with someone else, will relax your mind and elevate your mood even more. Any anxiety or discomfort will drizzle away with each step you take. Dancing at parties may even have others mistake you as an extrovert!
Socialize! This may be the last thing an introvert wants to do at a party but bear in mind that parties are social events. Parties are designed for socializing, and it’s nearly impossible for anyone to go to a party without exchanging five words with someone, even if you’re asking someone to pass the salsa! But engaging with people one by one will build you up socially. Survey the crowd and pick up vibes from other people before speaking to them. Do you see anyone you know? Speak to them first and start a friendly conversation with another person. This doesn’t have to be some tedious so-let’s-talk-about-the-weather small talk, so feel free to ask open-ended questions about things occurring in the present moment (“How did you find out about this event?”).
Volunteer to help set up, serve, and clean up. For an introvert, having something tangible to do gives them something to focus on other than the growing crowd at a party. So, helping to set up the venue will prepare them for the night ahead, and serving will help elicit friendly conversation and promote warming up to strangers. Serving food and drinks will help you to walk out into the crowd with a purpose, and you also don’t have the pressure of staying in the crowd because you must get back into the kitchen to bring out more food!
Find a quiet, calm place of refuge. Parties are draining for introverts. There are moments when they need to find a quiet place in the venue to decompress and refresh their minds before joining the scene again. So, find a calm, vacant area—or as vacant as possible—such as a quiet corner where less people are, a restroom, an empty table, or you can step outside if there are less people out there.
Just because you’ve been invited to the party, doesn’t mean you have to stay the entire time. You can leave whenever you begin to feel drained – your host or hostess will understand. Or you can let them know upon arrival that you won’t be able to stay the whole time, and that way they will know in advance and will not be alarmed when you suddenly have to leave. Remember these pointers when you attend your next social!