Monday, August 20, 2012

How to make parties awkward for introverts

This weekend my husband and I went to a birthday party for a good friend of Ben's from pre-school.  We know that at gatherings of adult and kids I often stand out as being a little different.  I thought about writing an account of how I didn't quite fit in.  However tonight as I write, I'm feeling snarky.  So you get a humorous post that is marginally related to the party we went to this weekend.  

Having said that, please note.  The hosts were wonderful and accommodating and gracious.  One other couple there was amazing!  They asked questions and listened to our answers.  Then asked more questions based on our answers.  Wonderful!  So my inspiration for this post isn't so much that party as most other parties I've attended.

This seems like a good prequel to my guest post on The Isle of Man tomorrow.  My guest post isn't snarky or humorous, but Kevin, the guy that runs it, is humorous.  So if you liked this at all, go there and read his stuff.  If not, go there tomorrow and read my guest post.  I will post a link tomorrow when it goes live.
Being an introvert, I try to avoid public gatherings that are not family and very close friends.  However over the course of a lifetime attending some parties becomes necessary.  These have taught me quite a bit and I will now share it with you.  By following these simple rules you can make and awkward party for the introverts you know.

Birthday Party  Photo Credit: .imelda

1.  Make sure that someone they don't know greets them at the door.  We don't love introducing ourselves, so anything past our name will not come to us.  Then we will realize that more small talk is socially required, but the time has past.  Now we are feeling a little awkward.

2.  When we enter the party space, separate us from the extrovert we came with.  Any good introvert knows the best way to avoid awkwardness is to bring an extrovert.  We can ride their coat tails until we have found someone with whom we can talk.  Separate us and the awkwardness meter just doubled.

3.  After separating us, make sure we eat something.  Maybe this is a woman thing and not so much an introvert thing, but eating around new people is always awkward.  How much is too much?  What if I don't like the vegetable tray?  Is it okay to skip that or do I end up looking like a pig?  Are these people noticing what I eat?

4.  After getting our plate full, sit us down with a new group of people.  Now that we are wondering about the food we are or are not eating, this seems like the perfect time to introduce us to new people.  So we have to go through the introductions that we will inevitably mess up.  Then we try to remember how to small talk while paying attention to this new group of people.  The awkwardness gets amped up when we can't really relate to what they are talking about.

5.  Finally, ask the us questions about those things to which we can't relate.  Of course, we realize that these new people don't know we can't relate.  We realize they are trying to be friendly and include us in their discussion.  This just increases the awkwardness for us.  We know you are being nice and we know that we are the freaks.  So we do our best to fumble through an answer hoping that the next question will be something more manageable.

This list is by no means exhaustive.  Fellow introverts, what have I missed?

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