Health Journal

A Holiday Letter From an Introvert

Written by Christine Luff

Dear Family and Friends,

With the holidays upon us, I thought this would be a good time to address some things that you may find a bit quirky, maybe even irritating, about my behavior during this so-very-special time of year.

You see, I’m an introvert and the holidays can be challenging, but not in that “I’m so busy and I’m never going to get all this stuff done” kind of way (although, yep, that sucks, too). Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and all the meaningful and fun traditions that go along with them. It’s just that I don’t like to be around people too much. That sounds horrible. It’s not that I don’t love people, especially MY people but, as we all know, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s involve a lot of people time. Sometimes a little more people time than us introverts can handle.

So here are some things to know about me during this magical time of year:

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You’re getting screened. If you call me any time during the month of December, you’re most likely going to voicemail (sorry, Mom and Dad). Please don’t take it personally. I like you, I really do, and it’s not that I don’t want to talk to you. It’s just that talking on the phone can feel draining to introverts and it’s taken up a notch during the holidays. I promise I will call you back, but it’ll be when I’m feeling more recharged and relaxed. (By the way, I absolutely adore texting and emailing!)

Weekdays are tough. I would love to do that holiday sip-and-paint thing or go for after work holiday cocktails, but does it have to be on a Monday? I know, I get it that there are only so many days in December, but that also means there are a limited number of days for us introverts to recharge our batteries. And after a long day of working and taking care of the kids, it can be tough to feel “on” at a weeknight gathering. I’m so envious of all your extroverts who are up for any social event, any time! But, I’m sorry, I may need to decline the weeknight invitation and hit refresh by changing into cozy PJs and watching Elf with the kids for the 37th time. Again, it’s not you, it’s me!

If I pull an Irish good-bye, it doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun. Oh dearly-loved extrovert friends and family members, you may not have ever tried this classic introvert tactic of exiting a crowded party without announcing your departure, but I guarantee that I’ll attempt it (introvert hubby is usually on board, too) a couple of times this season. Introverts love this move because it helps us avoid the long good-bye process and getting caught up in prolonged conversations after we feel like we’ve reached our socializing max. It’s not that we don’t like you and didn’t thoroughly enjoy the event. It’s just that we don’t want to interrupt the fun or make a big deal of us leaving.

One-on-one time = good!  There are tons of opportunities to hang with big groups of people in December, but what I really crave is one-on-one time with my friends and relatives. Let’s go grab a gingerbread spice latte together or take a walk to pre-burn some holiday calories. I love connecting one-on-one with my loved ones, especially during this time of year. And the brief escape from the holiday craziness will do us both a lot of good.

We need extroverts to push us. I know some of the above sounds Grinchy or like it was pulled straight from a Grumpy Cat book. And that’s all the more reason that we introverts need our extroverted relatives and friends to (sometimes) encourage us to come out of our little introverted worlds so we don’t miss out on special, memory-making holiday moments. We may seem resistant at first, but please know what we love, appreciate, and admire your focus on family and friends, your ability to talk to anyone about anything, and your seemingly endless amounts of social energy. Get us out of our comfort zones. Invite us places. Just please text, no calls.

About the author

Christine Luff

Christine Luff is a mom of two kids, wife, writer and blogger, running coach, and avid runner. Christine is obsessed with coffee, and is founder of the website Run For Good, where she writes about running and other good stuff.