Most businesses I’ve worked at have had annual holiday parties and/or summer events. Some even encourage social outings throughout the year. This is a nightmare for introverted employees.
The force togetherness, the multiple conversations makes us anxious and demands a lot of energy. Being around a lot of people and trying to be “sociable” is very exhausting.
I’ve personally always felt dread when it comes to the holiday office party and the summer office activity, even when I was the one organizing them and knew what to expect. I’ve felt the same dread whether I was brand new or been working for the same office for a very long time. You would think I would have gotten used to it by now. Nope.
It’s even worse if we are required to participate in games.
Introverts do not simply enter a room and interact with people. This is why I usually avoid sitting in the centre of the room where the festivities are the loudest. We prefer deep conversation over light small talk. I either pass the entire time in silence listening to people’s conversations or end up having a serious conversation with one coworker who is going through a tough time and needs to talk with someone who won’t spill everything to everyone.
Even leaving the office party is awkward. I feel anxious at the idea of saying goodnight to everyone. I feel awkward thanking the boss for an excellent meal. It’s not that we don’t appreciate the gesture, it’s not that we don’t get along with our coworkers, it’s that socialising requires a lot of energy and our batteries get drained really fast.
What are your strategies for coping?