Enjoy the Company of Family

img963I’ve written several posts about the stress and anxiety that comes with social gatherings for me – for all introverts. It sometimes makes what are supposed to be joyous occasions horrendous nightmares of self-doubt – even when I’m fairly certain I haven’t done anything wrong. Being aware of how these situations affect me and that it happens to many other people makes it easier, but never easy.

Because even though there are thousands, millions even, of introverts out there we all experience things differently. Our tolerance for social gatherings is higher or lower depending on our past experiences and emotional makeup. Then of course there is how an introvert’s family reacts to the situation.

If you have a family of introverts then everything should be good. I bet your Thanksgiving was calm, joyful, and relaxing. If on the other hand, you have a family like mine – like most I would imagine – then you have a mix of introverts, extroverts, extroverted introverts, introverted extroverts.

And a stressful, chaotic gathering that takes hours if not days from which to recover…

Yep, I can hear all of you laughing from here. You know what I’m talking about. That doesn’t even take into consideration all the other emotional, mental, and every other kind of games people play. And the judgment. Did I mention the judgment?

Makes me wonder why we even have these holiday parties. Of course I’ve heard fairy tales about families who are loving and supportive and genuinely like each other. There must be some, right?

Okay, this has taken a cynical turn and that wasn’t what I wanted. Having good, healthy, functional relationships take work. They take effort. And it starts with a desire to have them. It starts with us getting out of our own heads long enough to have meaningful conversations with the people we say we love which is hard for the deeply introverted.

Hell, it’s hard for anyone. We get so caught up in our own lives our own world that we forget to connect with our families and then for a month and half every year we wonder why the parties and gatherings are awkward. Or we can’t for the life of us figure out what to give people for Christmas.

Sure there are some people who are impossible to buy for, but if we put our minds to it we could figure something out. You know, if we asked questions and actually listened to them when we talked to them.

And there’s another benefit – somewhat unexpected. By listening, by putting forth the effort to really get to know people it takes some of the stress out of the social situations because we’re prepared. Because when we know these people – even just a little bit better – we’re better able to read them and can feel more confident in our own actions and words.

So even us introverts can have a great time and enjoy the company of our families!

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