It’s more fun this way

“I’m the one who stands on the sidelines at the party

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I usually leave after a few hours

[…]

It’s not that I don’t like company

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I have a lot to say if you just ask me “

Bina Bianca wrote the hymn of introverts. A short song by the singer known as “Head Voice” tells about the misunderstandings that people with this personality trait encounter over and over again.

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One of these misconceptions is that introverts don’t enjoy parties. The songs coming out of the speakers are too loud for them. They are overwhelmed by a lot of people. Deep conversations are nearly impossible to mix up voices and music – and introverts find shallow small talks boring to tiresome.

This is how some people stereotype the person who describes himself as an introvert. As always with cliche: they contain a grain of truth – but they present reality in a very simplified way. Even introverts can throw crazy parties. They are not always quiet listeners at the edge of the group, but they have lively conversation with new acquaintances. Because, as Bina Bianca sings: “I’m not shy, I’m an introvert.”

Shy or introverted?

Shy people fear or find themselves in social situations. Shyness is often a symptom of low self-esteem, writes Leksykon Psychologii Spektrum. As a result, shy people are often reserved towards others. Introverts can do this too. However, they are usually not afraid to talk to others. It is difficult to judge from the outside whether a quiet guy at a party is shy or introverted.

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Anyway, there is no one group of extroverts, and the opposite are introverts. Instead, you have to think of introversion and extraversion as the two ends of the scale. Most people are more in one area or the other on this scale – but very few are far right, far left, or right in the center.

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) was the first to distinguish between introverts and extroverts. According to him, extroverts direct their mental energy outward. You like a lot of hustle and bustle and lots of people around you, so you are more suited to be a party animal. On the other hand, introverts direct their mental energy towards their own inner life. They like a quiet environment and do not get bored easily, even alone.

Why parties can be stressful

The celebrations are the exact opposite of a peaceful setting. Sylvia Löhken knows how introverts feel in this situation. She has written several books on introversion and extraversion. “A party always has some intro stressors,” says a communications consultant who describes herself as an introvert. Music, light and many people are overdosing on stimulation. In addition, many introverts have a high need for security. If you only know a few people at the party or know almost nothing in advance about the location, it can stress you out.

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Sabrina Fleisch (left) is an anxiety and stress management trainer and adviser. Sylvia Löhken (right) is a communication consultant and has written several books on introversion and extraversion.

Sabrina Fleisch knows all about stress and how to reduce it. “What can make it difficult is when introverts want to be different or feel they have to be different to be liked or accepted,” says an anxiety and stress management coach and author of the books. Here, however, there is a contradiction with your own desire – for example, at a party at some point for peace and quiet. This creates an internal conflict. “It causes frustration, shame, sadness and even anger,” explains Fleisch.

Party tips for introverts

Instead of suppressing your own needs, the expert advises you to listen to yourself. There’s nothing wrong with leaving the party hall for a while and getting some fresh air or listening to music instead of talking to someone. “It’s okay if I want to rest. It’s understandable that I need some rest. It’s okay to feel this way, there are good reasons for it, ”says Fleisch.

Parties: how to make them fun for introverts

Communication consultant Sylvia Löhken has published several books on introversion and extraversion. Her five tips for introverts at parties: 1. Get ready: Why are you going to this party? Who do you want to meet? You can also find out now that you don’t want to go to this party at all. Then leave it. 2. Neither too early nor too late: Arriving too early often leads to a dangerous standing with strangers. If you are late, you will meet people who may already be “warm” with each other. 3. Find the right place: Find rooms at the party where you feel comfortable. These are often places where there are not too many people and where it is quieter: for example, hallways or kitchens. If you’re completely overwhelmed, taking a walk or taking a short break in the toilet – and wondering if you still want to be at the party. 4. Being the Good Guy: Many introverts are great at listening and watching. This can lead to interesting meetings. So, can you help or be useful to someone? Are you finding something or someone interesting now? Such questions not only often lead to exciting situations with other guests, but also put you in a good mood. 5. Dancing: Some people use large parties to dance and be alone.

What if someone doesn’t want to go to a party early, but prefers to spend the evening reading a book on the couch? “Life is too short to do what others think will make you happy,” replies the stress coping coach.

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Introversion and science

For those who still grapple with the fact that they aren’t as fun, we’ve got some good news from science. Introversion and extraversion are neither innate nor permanent. “Personality can be changed throughout life, even in old age” – says prof. Lars Penke. The head of the Department of Biological Personality Psychology at the University of Göttingen explains: For a long time, scientists assumed that the brains of introverts and extroverts are different. Introverts generally have higher brain activity and therefore tolerate less external stimuli – such as loud music or many conversations in quick succession. This theory is outdated.

“Extraversion and introversion have a certain heredity. But heredity doesn’t mean inborn, ”says Penke. The consequence of this heredity, however, is that people begin their lives with a certain tendency. But life experience and social setting also influence how someone feels and behaves. People also tended to maintain stable patterns of behavior. Once you feel like you don’t like the party, you go to the next party with a more negative attitude.

“Personality cannot be freely shaped”

The concept of self, i.e. how people judge themselves, also plays an important role. “We are happy to accept introverted or extroverted labels. They help us understand and classify ourselves and others, explains the psychologist Penke. The wildest person at the party is labeled an extrovert. Someone compares themselves to this and then thinks they are withdrawn – which at the same time helps explain to others why they are being quieter.

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“One’s own personality is not arbitrary and immediately susceptible,” says the expert. But people could gradually introduce new habits. In this way, they create new, positive experiences. Over time, they could change their personality. This way, the introvert can still become a party animal – or at least a party house cat.

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