How To Throw An Office Holiday Party For A Room Full Of Introverts
Writers are often introverts at heart.
Wide open workspaces? They inspire us to put on noise canceling headphones and communicate via Slack or some other work-approved app.
Our desks are decorated with a mix of family photos and "Star Wars" action figures.
Verbal conversations are rare at the office. We're all doing different writing related things: research, creation of articles and web content, writing an eBook or creating a policy manual.
The loudest noise (should anyone actually remove their headphones to listen) is the sound of rapid typing and that one guy in the corner tapping his foot loudly to the music in his ears.
We wish each other a happy weekend via chat or email, and everyone goes home. Until Christmas time. Then someone decides we MUST throw a Christmas party.
As the day approaches, apprehension increases. Everyone wonders what they should wear: their Star Trek red-shirt uniform or the Darth Tater shirt they got for Christmas last year from their Uncle in Idaho?
How do we even deal with an entire room full of introverts?
Don't force it.
Are you the brilliant person who came up with this party? You can have games available if you want, but if you force anyone to play, you might find coal in your stocking, passive-aggressively placed there by one of your introvert employees.
Think about what games you might want to have there. Cards Against Humanity might draw a surprising crowd, but it's hardly work appropriate. Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride? You'll have the gang playing quietly in no time.
The guy standing off to the side, not playing anything but just watching? No, he doesn't feel left out and is not waiting for someone to invite him to the game.
Don't go over, grab his arm and steer him to a table. This is probably the closest he has been to people he really doesn't know that well (even though he has been with the company for five years) since his high school graduation.
Leave him alone. He'll come around, or he'll quietly leave. Either way, let it be his choice.
Want to get those introverts to warm up to each other and actually talk? Offer booze, or at least hold the party off-site and allow employees to drink. Lively conversations will soon spring up across the room.
A warning here: The group of introverts will probably say inappropriate things. Love will be confessed, crushes revealed and enemies defined.
Don't worry. To deal with the social anxiety, most of them will get drunk enough they won't remember these conversations on Monday.
Have Uber or some other means of getting them home on call. This policy will make the games more lively, too. A no-host bar is fine as long as Fireball and cheap cocktails are available in abundant amounts.
Make the party a Vegas zone.
What happens at the party stays at the party. Who goes home with whom and what exactly transpired that night should be considered confidential company information.
Whatever leaks out to social media should be ignored if the post occurred during the time the party was going on.
Nothing is worse for an introvert than their drunken activities getting pointed out later on. Embarrassment is right up there as one of the worst things that could happen.
One introvert who shall remain nameless performed a drunken Elaine-from-"Seinfeld" type dance at a party and discovered on Monday “everyone” had seen it and was laughing at her. She declared “I can't even” in a shrill voice and quit on the spot. She's now doing well at a convent in France.
If you throw a party for a group of introverts you want it to be a safe, secure place where everyone can be a version of themselves without judgment.
Throwing a party for introverts can be a challenge. The very word “party” makes many of them uncomfortable. Tread carefully, or you will send some of them scurrying back into their shell.
If someone shows up late, leaves early or doesn't come at all even though they RSVP'd? Don't even mention it.
Better yet, want to make a room full of introverts happy about the company Christmas party? Don't have one. Let them throw their own party if they want to. Give them a bigger Christmas bonus instead.