Whether you’re an Introvert or Extravert, the holidays can be a really exhausting time. No matter how much you enjoy the holiday period, it can quickly become tiring if you overcommit to too many things. 

Between seeing family, hanging out with old friends and apparently endless parties and gatherings, even the most outgoing person can find themselves worn out. 

To avoid this feeling, you need to get smart about how you socialize.

Ready for an Extravert’s holiday survival guide? Let’s jump in!

1. Pick your one person

As an Extravert, the biggest, most important trick I have for dealing with big holiday events is to find your person.

What does that mean? It means find the person in the room who you are most likely to get along with. For introverts, that means finding someone who hates small talk and schmoozing just as much as you do. Find them, engage them in conversation and don’t let them go for the rest of the night!

This is the simplest and most effective way to get out of having to ‘mingle’ with countless groups of different people. It gets rid of the exhausting introductions quickly and easily. You introduce yourself once and you’re done!

Who that person is will depend on the setting - maybe it’s the cousin you never get to see, an ex-colleague who was always up for a laugh or even a complete stranger. You never know who you might get chatting to!

Chances are, there’ll be at least one other person at the event who doesn’t want to be there. Find them and you’re set for a friend, buffet buddy and steady flow of conversation.

2. Volunteer for chores

If you can’t find anyone you want to talk to, there’s another method you can use to survive the holidays... doing chores.

While it doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend the holidays, volunteering for jobs lets you get out of socializing with relatives, acquaintances and your mum’s brother’s wife’s step-son. If you’re at an event that isn’t catered or held in a bar or a venue, volunteer to be the bartender or the waiter!

Other good options include:

  • Peeling vegetables
  • Taking people’s coats
  • Managing the gifts table
  • Organizing the music
  • Looking after the fire

If you can nab a role handing out drinks, clearing up glasses or anything else that needs to get done at a party, you can massively minimize the amount of talking you have to do. 

Not only will you help the host out (and get a big gold star for that), you’ll also get a break from conversation. This gives you a chance to spend some time with your thoughts and not have to worry too much about what everyone else is doing. 

Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of this technique during the holidays. It’s a lifesaver! The best part? There’s always more chores to be done...

3. Choose the right conversation topics

If all the small jobs and chores are already taken and you’re forced to be sociable, this is where you need to use tip number 3: find the right conversation topic. 

This one is easier said than done but if you can get it right, it really works.

One of the most exhausting things about the holidays is the constant small talk. You find yourself repeating over and over again about your job, where you’re living now, who you’re dating, your plans for the New Year etc.

To survive the holidays, you need to get out of this conversation rut. That means finding a topic that you can have a genuinely interesting conversation about.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • Movies and series
  • Books
  • Travel
  • Sports
  • Other hobbies
  • Personality typing!

NB: avoid conversations about politics, race, religion, sexuality and gender at all costs! 

While not everyone will share the same interests as you, there are some topics where you can find stuff to talk about regardless of who that person is.

Opt for neutral topics and find areas where you have common ground. No matter who you’re talking to, guaranteed they will have watched something, read something or done something in the past year that’s worth talking about. This is also a good way to gradually get deeper into more genuinely interesting topics...

4. Take a ‘time out’

Another crucial tip for surviving the holidays is to take plenty of breaks.

If you find yourself somewhere hectic, loud and super sociable, give yourself the time and space to take a breather. Go and look at your host’s bookshelves or head out for some ‘fresh air’, whatever you need to step away from the buzz of the main event.

Having just 5-10 minutes to yourself can give you the reset and energy you need to rejoin the party again. A small break can make a huge difference.

If you’re staying at someone else’s house over the holidays, it’s also a great idea to get into a routine of going for a walk in the mornings or evenings to give yourself some quiet time. Even better if you can become the official dog walker! It’s amazing how many times you can get away with taking the dog out!

5. Do the holidays your way

If you’re old enough to be reading this blog, you’re old enough to be able to shape the holidays the way you want to do them. Sure there’ll be family commitments that you can’t get out of and maybe a work Christmas party that you’re obligated to attend but ultimately, you’re in control here.

The best way to survive the holidays is to only do the events and activities you want to do! While this is easier said than done, it’s really important to work on saying ‘no’. This is an essential skill to learn, especially for Introverts.

This holiday season, don’t get bogged down with pleasing people and overcommitting to events you hate. Take advice from an Extravert and only do the stuff you enjoy this holiday. 

Everyone else can (and will) just deal with it. 

Elizabeth Harris
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at bethharris.com