Holiday Party Survival Skills for Wallflowersby Elaine Plummer
If someone says PARTY, I am there! I love getting together with old friends and making new ones, when I can.
But while I am confident enough to move to the middle of the room and chitchat with anyone or everyone, I know that some people have a harder time being social without feeling anxious. Not everyone is an extrovert, some people prefer smaller social settings to larger ones and when they are put in a large social setting, they freeze.
For those that aren’t as social as chatty Cathy, I have some ideas to help with the nervousness that you may feel in your belly before you meet new people at your favorite friend’s annual holiday party.
One of my very favorite websites is beinggirl.com because it has great articles to help people overcome their shyness and offers tips for people who might not understand others' anxiety. I recently read a great article titled: How to Overcome Shyness, which provides realistic ways people can address this issue.
1. Don’t say: "GET OVER IT" to your shy buddy. Believe me, if they could they would. Who wants to feel horrid and anxious every time they have to participate in a group event?
2. Accept that your shy friend or family member is really reticent about meeting new people. It is REAL for them, not something fabricated to get attention.
Now for you shy people, here’s some advice:
1. You are not alone. No doubt you have family members or close friends who also experience shyness. In fact, shyness is a very common problem.
2. It is not a permanent part of your being. Give yourself some time to warm up to your circumstance. Some people just need a few minutes to assess the group before meandering into the fray. Also of importance (and not surprising) shy people have boyfriends, marry have careers, and kids.
3. You are not the center of anyone’s attention. Of course, if you are with someone who dotes on you, then of course you will be his or her center. Realistically though, no one is really paying too much attention to you. They are most likely talking with someone, checking out the buffet (I can do that and still talk with someone), or focused on their own issues.
4. Shyness is not a barrier to an intimate relationship. Nope, shy people can be close and intimate. As I said, shy people have significant relationships and can have a love of their life.
5. Your parents aren’t totally at fault. There is a genetic predisposition to shyness, amongst other behavior characteristics. However, while you can blame your genes, you still own your life and your approach to interactions.
6. The Internet isn’t the answer. While the Internet offers ways to interact anonymously, it can hinder that honest face-to-face connection. For some, the Internet allows a person to create a make-believe persona. However, in the end, it can be isolating and doesn’t resolve the issues that keep a person from a live socially involved lifestyle.
That being said, here are some tips for overcoming shyness:
- Become more aware of the people around you. What are they doing? See anyone standing alone and with a death-grip on his or her Merlot glass? Go on over and say, Hi. Think of it as a humanitarian effort to rescue someone else. Introduce yourself and ask how they know the host. Bet that will begin a much-appreciated conversation.
- You don’t have to stay with one person for the night. Nope and they probably don’t want to stay with you either. When you have exhausted your discussion and you both start looking around, say: “Nice to have met you and excuse me.” It really isn’t necessary to offer a reason for separating from the person. There are times, I prefer the bacon-wrapped weenies to most conversations but would never know how to explain that. I just go and nosh away.
- Arrive to the party a little early. Explore and get comfortable with your surroundings. Offer to help the hostess with last minute stuff. Check out where you would want to hang out.
As the beinggirl.com article notes, you don’t have to change who you are, just how you think about this aspect of your being. In fact, the world might be a bit better if there were fewer of us jumping in the spotlight or fighting over the microphone. That thoughtful more contemplative person standing in the corner just might have the best sense of humor or some of the more interesting stories to share.
So for you lampshade wearers, life of the party types, take a look around, and say hello to the person who is standing alone and looking like they would want to be anywhere but where they are at. Bet it will make the party better for you both!