Here's What The Holidays Are Like For Introverts

Oh. Dancing. Great.

The holiday season can be stressful for everyone, but for introverts, the increased tempo and pace of the world around them quickly becomes intrusive and maddening.

For people who thrive on interaction, an introvert's need for space and quiet can seem depressing, anti-social, or simply Grinchy. 

Here's what extroverts need to understand about those who find the holidays overstimulating. This is what the holidays are like for an introvert.

Holiday parties are a special kind of awful.

Some people are stimulated by large groups of people mingling, talking, dancing, drinking, and flirting. For an introvert, however, a holiday party is a trifecta of overload: too much to bear. There is simply too much stimuli.

Alcohol may help, but only slightly.

The crowds feel like drowning.

For an introvert, holiday shopping crowds are like drowning in an angry human sea, so no one should be surprised if presents from their introverted friends all come from a shipping center in Kentucky.


...and nowhere is safe.

Not even bookstores – the introvert's traditional oasis of tranquility – are immune from the chaos of crowds, but when you can find a rare quiet, empty space in one, it's a victory to be savored. 

Salespeople aren't just pushy...

Salespeople are holiday shopping's handmaidens. Christmas bonuses are on the line, sales goals are much higher, and retailers put huge amounts of pressure on employees to sell, sell, sell. 

they're intolerable.

It takes a certain temperament to work in retail sales: extroverts typically excel at it. For an introvert, an outgoing salesperson bent on converting you from "really just looking" into a sale ranks somewhere between "root canal" and "migraine headache" on the tolerability scale.

Invitations from well-meaning friends can feel stifling.

If you're away from family, you may find yourself being the holiday orphan among the previously-unknown families of well-meaning friends. 

Strange new surroundings are always treacherous ground, but when coupled with the insanity of the season and people's natural curiosity about newcomers, a holiday spent in the company of strangers can feel incredibly forced, leaving an introvert longing for the company of a drink and Netflix. 

But at least some holiday madness can be avoided.

If you somehow manage to avoid the crowds and rush of people clogging freeways and airports, you'll find yourself with plenty of time to do whatever you want while others become wrapped up in holiday dramas. 

Even if you don't, there are always chances to break away.

Every place will be all but empty.

If you've ever walked through Manhattan early on a Christmas morning, you know what I mean. 

There's something wonderfully restorative about seeing the city empty of everything but the glow of lights or fresh-fallen snow. 

...and the world will feel like it's entirely yours to explore.

Regardless of how you spend your holidays or who you choose to spend them with, be mindful that what may seem like wonderful fun to you can be really very awkward and uncomfortable for someone else, so don't rush to judge someone as asocial or depressed if they're not jumping all over the "holiday spirit." It may well be that they find comfort and joy in the decorations of their interiority.

Please share this with your friends.