The holiday season brings with it some of the most annoying content that’s ever been created for consumption.

I’m not talking about Christmas music. I’m talking about the 4,000 listicles and advice columns that have headlines like “10 things introverts can do to keep up with their extroverted friends during the holidays” or “The introvert's guide to being more extroverted during the holiday season.”

Never have I seen “The extroverts guide to leaving people alone this holiday season.”

Here is that guide. I’m going to use a couple of scenarios to illustrate a few points and hopefully all my extroverted acquaintances can extrapolate from there.

Scenario one finds our beloved introvert arriving at a friends-giving full of festive partygoers. These are friends who have clearly pre-gamed the event with cheap vodka and a 3-liter of Sprite.

It should be noted that the word friend has a different meaning to our introvert than it does the house full of extroverts who immediately all yell “hello” when our introvert crosses the threshold of the door.

Most extroverts consider anyone they have met, and who has not tried too hard to murder them, a friend. Introverts, on the other hand, need a little more, like a sense of cooperative commitment or maybe at least a mutual remembrance of each other’s name.

The stentorian “hello” causes a reaction in our introvert.

To the many extroverts in the room, this reaction looks like fear. This interpretation of events is bolstered when our introvert quietly makes their way to a corner of the room, out of the direct eyeline of as many people as possible.

I would imagine there are a lot of things to fear in this fictional room we’ve built, but our introvert is not afraid of people. Nor are they afraid of interacting with people. Truth be told, they’re not afraid at all. They are simply just not interested in the competition that is taking place amongst those in the middle of the room where they are doing everything they can to garner the attention, admiration or allegiance of the group at large.

Our introvert is interested in the lives of two or three of the guests at this party, though, which is why they came.

So, if you are one of these two or three people, then go ahead and approach our introvert. They’ve already prepared a nice space where y’all can chat and catch up. If you are not one of the chosen, then wait to be approached by our introvert. You won’t hurt their feelings by not acknowledging them, and they aren’t there to see you anyway.

Fast forward a couple of days. Our introvert is reminiscing about the one year they had off from all social events while they are on their way to a large family gathering for Thanksgiving, which is being held in spite of the copious amounts of COVID-19 data that had been emailed to most of the family with a treatise on why having a get-together, despite the “situation getting better” was a bad idea.

Our introvert is greeted by the same stentorian “hello” like before. Many extroverts would think that this greeting would be accepted differently than the one with friends, but it is not. To our introvert, familial relationships and friendly relationships are one and the same. Like the friends-giving there are people here that our introverts cares about and there are people here that they don’t.

The difference is the familial group comes with a predetermined set of questions like:

1. What are you doing nowadays?

2. How are your cats?

3. How’s married life treating you?

4. When are you going to grow up and actually do something with your life?

(Answer key: 1. Same thing I’ve been doing for the last decade. 2. Alive. 3. The same way it has for the past seven years. 4. Says the guy still living at home.)

Our introvert understands that these questions, regardless of the lack of effort they take to formulate, are at their heart and attempt to relate to them.

And, while that’s appreciated, it really is unnecessary.

Instead, I would suggest doing what people have done for the past 50 years. Eat a big meal. Find a place to sit and take a nap until it’s time to go.

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