Tips for Introverts: How to attend an event without feeling exhausted

You’ve just been invited to an event, and while you're excited to go, on the inside you're trying to find the energy to last through the event.

Here are 4 ways you can make the most of your time at a party or networking event—without feeling completely overwhelmed.

1. Scope out good “time-out spots” when you arrive.

Introverts are re-charged when they spend time ALONE. To avoid burnout during an event, take small breaks to spend time gathering yourself. For example, find a quiet hallway to collect your thoughts; pretend you forgot something in your car to get a moment alone (but don’t leave!); busy yourself with something in the kitchen corner. While it’s important to look welcoming and to engage when you’re out, it’s okay to steal moments for yourself so that you can collect your energy and take a mental break from being “on”.

2. Avoid “spotlight pressure” by asking questions.

Sometimes introverts dread having the spotlight and having to voice things they’d prefer to think about independently. To give yourself an out, pose questions. This works well with extroverts because they enjoy talking about themselves anyway (yes, it’s true!). Fellow introverts will also appreciate this because it gives them a chance to open up as well. Just be sure to share a little about yourself along the way.

One Illinois State University study arranged two groups of people. In one group, they paired people, asking one partner to speak for 10 minutes straight without interruption, and then they switched. In the other group, pairs were encouraged to organically take turns sharing and listening. The study found that the pairs who reciprocated equal exchanges of sharing and listening liked their partner more than the pairs who didn’t share this way. What’s the point? While it’s good to share in a conversation, it’s equally important to pose questions. Plus, it gives you a chance to collect your thoughts.

3. Go deep, not wide.

While extroverts like to work the room, introverts are exhausted by the thought of talking to so many people. And who says you have to? Find people who are spending time alone and chat them up. Do not talk yourself out of it by thinking, “Ugh, I don’t want to bother her!” Most people are relived when someone else comes up and initiates the conversation. After chatting one or two people while you’re at your event, then give yourself permission to leave. But not before getting their contact info. And (maybe?) setting up a time to meet-up with her again, one-on-one.

The more you practice, the easier it gets. (Find social events to help you practice here.)

4. Be the hostess’ right-hand woman.

One classic tip for introverts is to adopt a role. When you arrive, ask the hostess what you can do to help, and busy yourself with a task. This way you can 1. Get the lay of the land 2. Scope out potential people to chat-up and 3. You don’t have to awkwardly wander around searching for something to do or say. Distract yourself with a responsibility, and once you settle in, free yourself up so that you look engaging and approachable-- then get ready to mingle.

In a world built for extroverts to succeed, it can be difficult to navigate. But with a few strategic approaches, you can find a way to shine and connect .. without having a total meltdown that has you heading to the parking lot to book it back home.

Get out there and shine, girl.

[Want personalized tips to help with your social anxiety or introversion? Book a coaching session to get the attention and guidance you need-- personalized!]

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