I’m an introverted extrovert. Or an extroverted introvert. I’m not really sure about the naming. It means that deep down I am an introverted person, who enjoys her alone time, who likes to think and analyze and daydream and hates small talk. But…I can’t be by myself, not talking to anyone, for too long, I enjoy meeting with my friends and I am absolutely addicted to spending time with my husband.
This being said, I still get social anxiety when I am forced to take part in large gatherings, because, as history has thought me, I really have no conversational topics up my sleeve and nothing to answer when I get weather remarks. So it pretty much sucks.
I recently made the decision that I am an adult and, therefore, have the willpower to say no to doing things that make me uncomfortable, but as much as one tries to avoid these events, one still find herself in a type of a social situation at least a couple of times a year.
You feel me right? But don’t despair, I know what to do. Just follow these steps and you will be fine (and people will actually think you’re having a good time):
1. Bring an extrovert with you
If you can, don’t go to a party alone, but bring an extrovert. One that tells jokes. Follow them wherever they go (you may be the one that was invited, but they will act like they know everyone). Watch them make jokes all night. Leave when they stop being funny (you may leave them there, they are enjoying themselves).
2. Use your phone to its maximum capacity
Don’t keep staring at your phone. At some point someone will come next to you and ask you why you’re staring at your phone. This shouldn’t happen. Instead, use its other features, like the camera. Start taking pictures, maybe act a little artsy. If someone asks, tell them photography is your hobby. Heck, even better, buy a professional camera and take it with you at parties (this is a nice replacement for the funny extrovert).
3. Ask a lot of questions
If you do find yourself in a conversation with someone else, it doesn’t mean you actually have to engage. Just ask a lot of questions and let the other person do the talking. This should keep you busy long enough until you can make your exit. For a foolproof plan, search the party for a chatterbox (there’s always one) and make them talk at you. No one else will bother you. However, beware: you may not be able to exit the conversation in time (when all else fails, fake a bathroom emergency).
4. Bring pictures of your cat
Or take pictures of someone else’s cat on your phone, if you don’t own one. Extroverts will love looking at pictures of a cute cat. So much that they will start talking about their own pets and, hey, that’s always a nice conversation to have.
5. Drink alcohol
When in doubt, get buzzed. This usually brings out my very quirky, life of the party, extrovert side. I love everyone, I dance on tables, I hug people (what?) and I feel kind of bad the next day, but not so much as to not do it again.
This is part of my party survival kit, when I go out without my husband (or, you know, he goes to the bathroom), in which case I cling to him like my life depended on it.
This was fun to write, but it’s painful to live through. Some of us are just not made to mingle and talk to 20 people per hour. Some of us are just pleased to find one or two persons that we enjoy being around and have deep, meaningful, funny, stupid, important or not conversations with. That’s nothing to feel bad about, it’s actually pretty awesome! And we love it!
This story was originally published on Medium.