I’ve struggled with being a painfully shy introvert most of my life. And social awkwardness was a natural by-product heaped on top of it.
Over the years, I’ve managed to move past the shyness and have gotten to a point where I love being around people—I can even do so without feeling like a total goob afterward. I’ve also discovered that having people over for a tasty meal is one of my favorite things.
But while I love entertaining, as an introvert it can be really draining (as can any gathering, really), which can make this wonderful opportunity to hang out with friends a super daunting task.
Thankfully, with a little intentionality, there are ways to survive entertaining as an introvert. You might even enjoy it.
1. Ask questions
One of my biggest worries was that I’d have to always know what to say. Instead, I’ve learned that asking questions is one of the best ways to talk to people. It helps you get to know them and shows you’re interested in who they are.
It also gets them talking so you don’t have to. If you’re not sure what to ask, do a quick google search for questions to ask people at parties. There’s no shortage of them.
(All the extroverts reading this are like, “Are you serious?”)
2. Have a recovery plan
Introverts need alone time to recharge. And that’s okay. It’s who we are. That’s why I make sure to have some time planned for myself following an evening/day/weekend of hosting people so I don’t lose my mind.
Often it’s something simple, like a bath, a walk, or a few hours at a coffee shop.
Knowing that’s coming is a relief when I’m in the middle of entertaining and feel like I’m almost out of energy.
3. Dress to impress
I’m a huge fan of comfort, especially when it comes to clothing, but you won’t catch me hosting in my yoga pants. Why? I’ve learned that one of the easiest ways for me to feel confident and more at ease when I’m talking to others is to dress to impress.
And to be clear here, the person I’m dressing for is me.
I wear clothes I look great in (that are also comfy—that’s a must), I put on lipstick on and do my hair. Because it makes me feel good. And when I feel good, it’s so much easier for me engage with my guests because I’m not secretly feeling self-conscious about how I look.
4. Power pose
You’ve heard that our minds can change our bodies, right? But did you know that our bodies can change our minds? Specifically, body language. If you hold a pose that you equate with a certain feeling for two minutes, it changes the way you feel. It’s science!
So if you stand in front of your mirror, standing tall, with your hands on your hips, looking like a superhero for two minutes, you’re going to feel more confident. Try it.
5. Invite extroverts
The answer to introvert social awkwardness is actually extroverts. Just kidding. Ok, not really.
There was this time that my husband and I were invited to watch a movie with a bunch of friends. And we drove our minivan so we could all talk on the way. Except there was barely any talking.
If you’ve ever wondered what happens in a van full of introverts, the answer is silence. Thankfully, it’s not an awkward silence because we’re all so happy to not say anything.
That’s why, if I’m having a gathering and we’re inviting more than one person, I make sure we have an extrovert present. And this really wasn’t a conscious thing at first until I realized that my dearest friends are extroverts, and I always invited one over.
They’re often the life of the party (which is just fine with me, thank you) and can help energize and draw me into being more lively as well.
Entertaining as an introvert is totally doable. Just plan a little first, take deep breaths and try to relax. (And don’t forget the extroverts!)