Social gatherings, in general, are not an introvert’s strong point at the best of times, but there are certain ones that prove more intolerable than others.
1. Office Parties
An office ‘party’ is an introvert’s living nightmare: one of those social gatherings that are inextricably linked with your survival. There’s no escaping a work do for fear of being found out by your boss to be something quite different to the ‘team player’ you assured them you were when you came for the interview.
Once again, a night of nervous laughter and terrible attempts to appear sociable while your head is about to explode from the tension of playing this totally unnatural role.
2. Team-Building Exercises
Everybody in the room but you seems overjoyed when the boss mentions that work on Wednesday is cancelled, as the office will be attending a team-building event, full of party games and opportunities to ‘get to know each other better’. Like office parties, team building events are social situations to be endured rather than enjoyed by an introvert. Once again, you’re the only person in the room that would rather be at their desk, or indeed anywhere else, than here.
3. Dinner Parties
Dinner parties are particularly problematic social gatherings as they’re set up in such a way as to guarantee conversation. Thus, when the guests are anyone other than your best friend, your immediate family, or your partner, the conversation is bound to be painful. You hope to avoid small talk as much as possible. But equally, you pray to God that no one will talk about anything interesting either, as you run the risk of ranting uncontrollably about it and then spending the rest of the night racked with anxiety and guilt.
4. Blind Dates
Even more terrifying than ordinary social gatherings are social situations in which you are being evaluated by others as to your worth as a human being. The pressure to succeed is the perfect recipe for failure as you unsuccessfully don an extroverted persona and attempt to appear “normal.” Instead, this persona takes on a life of its own, making you appear far more abnormal than you are in reality. This unfortunate series of events leaves you reeling from the injustice of being rejected for a having a personality that doesn’t even remotely resemble your own.
5. Speed-dating Events
If being rejected by only one person in a horrendous train wreck of a night out didn’t appeal, try the prospect of making small talk with several people and being evaluated on the impression you make. It’s not going to work. When your friends suggest that this will be ‘fun’ and if you just ‘get out there’ you could meet your dream partner, stay firm. You know nothing good can come of this.
When you receive the invitation, your initial response is to try to pretend you didn’t see it. But no matter where you put it, it burns into your consciousness, whispering “RSVP…”, tormenting you, demanding you find a good excuse not to go or bite the bullet. You have no good excuse. You are an unacceptable human being. Going to a friend’s wedding is basic human decency. You toy with the idea of pretending the invitation got lost in the post or coming down with a strange illness. For goodness sake, pull yourself together! They’ll never speak to you again – you have no choice! Get something to wear, get some kitchenware for a gift, go to the wedding. It’s just a day, for goodness’ sake! Surely, you can bear exchanging niceties with strangers for one day of your life!
7. School Reunions
There are social gatherings that one believes one might be able to get through with courage and fortitude, and there are school reunions. There is nothing on this earth that could entice me to a school reunion. There is absolutely no good reason to put yourself through such an ordeal. Indeed, just thinking about going could take years off your life.
8. Induction Days
Everyone loves a new beginning, starting a new course or a new job. Unfortunately for introverts, however, every silver lining has a cloud, and when it comes to starting something new, that black cloud looming over your otherwise happy life comes in the form of the induction day, or, in introvert’s language ‘another reason to dread even the good times’.
9. Nights out on the Town
While getting plastered, singing, and shouting obscenities might be some people’s idea of fun, an introvert is not likely to be counted among them. The only part of that formula that might appeal is the getting plastered and even that they’d prefer to do at home or in a quiet setting with a close friend.
10. Holidays with Friends
Let’s face it, all people, regardless of their disposition, would probably be well-advised to steer clear of going on holiday with friends. As fun as it sounds, events inevitably ensue that prove unpleasant for all involved. Even at best holidaying with friends will mean that you can’t get nearly as much alone time for reading or being quiet as you need to call it a holiday at all. And in all likelihood conflicts will arise, the holiday will be a write-off, and it might just be a death blow for the friendships involved. It’s simply not worth the risk.
Can you think of other social gatherings that are a living nightmare for all introverts? Let us know.
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