Thanks, but no…

It’s Christmas time and the season of holiday parties. While we don’t have a “work Christmas party,” there are some groups who do parties this time of year. I’m thankful to be invited, but I’m likely not going. I just might not have thought of an excuse yet. I wrote about this last year also, but it bears repeating.

I’m a stereotypical introvert. I need time alone to recharge. I get flustered by people who demand an answer right now. And the thought of going to a party makes my stomach hurt. If you are not an introvert, this probably seems strange. “Just go, it will be fun.” Yeah, I’m sure people will have fun, but if I go, I’d likely fill awkward silence with a drink and that would quickly become out of hand. It is not the image I’d like to portray to my co-workers. When I was younger? Sure, I didn’t care. Also, I’m not good at small talk. If my husband is there, I’m fine – he does all of the talking and story telling. I smile and laugh at his jokes or roll my eyes, and I don’t have to say much.

For years, I thought there was something wrong with me. “Why don’t you come out for happy hour?” I just couldn’t. I’d rather be at home with my family or shopping by myself. It wasn’t until I read some articles on introverts that the lightbulb went off – I’m not so strange. I need to honor and respect that part of me instead of trying to be something I’m not. I have little patience for “fake” people, so why would I want to be one myself?

People have different reasons for not going to the party – maybe they have other things going on in their personal life that they haven’t shared yet. Perhaps they are dealing with loss or being alone. While it’s good to invite people, I think we need to respect their answer. We shouldn’t make them explain their why.

Going to events like this remind me of all of the ways I’m not enough. I realize it’s a self imposed thing – I’m not smiling enough, I’m not funny enough, I’m not social enough, I’m not pretty enough… this list goes through my head. I know I need to speak kinder to myself and I’m working on it. It takes time. My request is for the answer of “no, thanks” to be enough.

Peace be with you this holiday season. You are always enough, whether you go to the party or choose to stay home.

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