The Introvert’s Guide To Hospitality

February 5, 2013 at 8:43 am

I don’t get it. I love people. I really do. I just get worn out by being in social settings for long periods of time. I have no problem speaking in front of groups of people, in fact, I enjoy it. I have pasable social skills. I’m not shy.

But, we often have long social functions at our home. We host concerts here, we have parties, we have an open-door policy. The parties that sometimes break out into little groups of people having deep conversations are my favorite. But that’ not always what happens. And when it doesn’t, I find myself strangely out of sorts in my own home.

Of course, I’ve learned over the years that I am an introvert. There is a lot of talk lately about introverts (in the church) and caring for them. This at least has given me a context to understand what I used to think of simply as me being unsocial, even if it doesn’t help me overcome some of those tendencies. And let me be honest: I’m not sure some of my introverted tendencies are all that acceptable, even though I sometimes make light of them.

It has occurred to me that, as an introvert who regularly hosts social functions, it might be useful to pass along some of the tips I’ve learned along the social path. If I can spare just one other introvert some of the awkward social experiences of my trek, it will have been worth it all. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

Find Errands To Run And Tell Everyone That You’re Going On Them

The first and most ideal option is to find any errand that needs to be run and tell everyone that you will be the one going. This way, you are part of furthering the social function by running to grab a forgotten item, but you can also slip away for some alone time. Be sure to tell everyone that you will be the one running said errand because if someone asks where you are, there’s an easy answer and if someone needs what is still missing, you’re the one to the rescue.

Find Lots Of Jobs To Do

Of course, not ever social function needs errands to be run. There is that rare occasion where everyone brings what they said they would. We have the ice, don’t worry. In these cases, a full-on escape might not be possible. However, there are some options for being an island in the stream and finding some “wind-down” time even while the party rages.

Do you remember that Seinfeld bit where George shares how he pretends to be busy at work? Find lots of jobs to do. This is easiest when the social function is at your own home. You can take out the trash. You can take out the recycle. You can wash dishes. You can load the dishwasher. You can wipe down the counters. You can move chairs. You can sweep. There are lots of ways you to float through the stream of social current without being sucked into the tiring whirlpool of extroversion. Be sure to find jobs that keep you on the move but that allow you to fulfill the next point:

Bounce Around The Room Enough To Always Know The Social Current

Though prolonged social interactions do drain us introverts, it’s important not to be rude. So, as you find lots of jobs to do around the party, be sure to stop in to various social circles, just to check in and the various conversations. This way, you have lots of large conversational touch-points for future conversations with individual people without having to talk to all of them.

Bonus Tip: Find The Most Secluded Bathroom

This last tip is a bonus because it can apply to functions in your own home and when you’re visiting. Always know where the most secluded publicly-available restroom is at the host facility. If it’s your own home, this is probably the master bath, but if you’re visiting, it may be a guest bathroom. If it is excluded, it will take you a minute or two to get there and, you can always buy yourself a few extra minutes in the bathroom. Do you really want to ask me why I was in there longer than it takes you?

I hope these tips are helpful for you introverts struggling to party in an extrovert world. The take-a-way here seems to be; either have the party at your own home or find the most secluded restroom.

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