The extrovert's and introvert's guide to holiday parties

Story highlights

  • Extroverts can end up spreading themselves too thin during the holidays
  • Introverts can feel anxious and overwhelmed in a party setting
  • Food can be an important part of a holiday party for both extroverts and introverts

Extroverted people love a reason to party, and the holidays provide countless opportunities to do so. With holiday parties, office soirees and family get-togethers in the mix, the season is jam-packed with celebrations.

"Extroverts are outgoing individuals who enjoy interacting with others -- so, typically, they love parties," says Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. All good, right? Well, not exactly.

At this time of year, extroverts often say "yes" to every invite that hits their in-box and can end up spreading themselves too thin.

Here, Lombardo offers pointers on how to work the party circuit without blowing a fuse.

upwave: Can you recharge at a party?


It's OK to hit and run. Extroverts can certainly put in cameo appearances at a lot of parties on the same night, as long as each party is conducive to that, says Lombardo. "Cocktail parties, yes -- but sit-down dinners, no," she warns.

Go in with a plan. If you know the guest list, make a mental note beforehand of who you want to talk to at the event, because according to Lombardo, "parties can fly by for an extrovert." And always grab a bite of something healthy and satiating before you go. "Extroverts are so chatty at parties, they often forget to eat," Lombardo observes.

upwave: 3 healthy holiday recipes ready in 30 minutes or less

Find the hostess stat. "Because extroverts are likely to be the life of the party, it's important to acknowledge and thank the person who's hosting the soiree before you get too busy working the room," says Lombardo. Do it first thing so you don't forget.

Make connections. While fluttering around the room like the social butterfly you are, introduce party guests to each other. "This is a great way to connect people and contribute to people's happiness, which is a huge source of joy for extroverts," Lombardo says. Plus, it allows you to move on without getting stuck talking to one person for hours -- which can be an extrovert's worst nightmare!

upwave: Give yourself the ultimate present: Time

Watch the clock. Extroverts need to be mindful of the time and not overstay their welcome, warns Lombardo. "Just because you're having a great time into all hours of the night does not mean the hostess is," she says. "If the invitation has an end time, try to keep close to that."


"Introverts are introspective, and they can feel anxious and overwhelmed in a party setting," explains Lombardo. But that doesn't mean you have to sit parties out altogether. Here, Lombardo offers introverts her top tips for rocking holiday parties with minimal stress, anxiety or awkward silences.

upwave: 8 ways to beat holiday stress

Know your limits. "It's better for introverts not to respond 'yes' to too many invitations, because that can be overwhelming," warns Lombardo. "This stress can affect not only the introvert's reaction at the party, but also his/her health, relationships and even work before the party as the anticipatory anxiety increases." Only RSVP to the number of events you feel you can reasonably handle.

Address your stress. "If you're an introvert, it's important that you address your stress before the party," says Lombardo. "Anxiety can increase for introverts as the party gets closer." Exercise and meditation can help you reduce your stress levels, as can doing a little party prep beforehand. "Develop a list of topics or questions you can use in case you're not sure what to say at the party," Lombardo advises. "And come up with a party mantra. For instance, instead of telling yourself, 'This is going to be terrible,' focus on something more positive, such as, 'I can't wait to see Mary tonight.'"

upwave: Mastering the art of small talk

Eat, drink and be merry. When you get to a party, head straight toward the food and beverages -- do not pass go, do not collect $200. Says Lombardo, "Having something to hold can help introverts feel more comfortable, without second-guessing, 'What should I do with my hands?'" Next, find a familiar face. This will help reduce your anxiety so you can enjoy your evening.

Serve and seek. For introverts, assisting at the party can help ease anxiety. Lombardo says this gives them something to do, makes them feel useful and also provides an automatic conversation starter. ("Can I get you some more cider?") She also recommends seeking out someone who is off on his or her own. "Because introverts prefer one-on-one interactions, this will be a great opportunity to have a conversation with one person," she says.

Listen to your body cues. "It's time for the introverts to leave when they notice that their energy is depleted," says Lombardo. "It can take a lot of stamina for an introvert to be at a party." Thank the party host for having you, then leave with no excuses or apologies. If it's a big bash and the host is nowhere to be found, you can always quietly slip out and call to thank the host the next day.

upwave: For more tips, see our holiday guide

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