Ah, the holidays. Constant parties. Festive apparel. Forced family fun. An introvert's nightmare.
"I call it the most extroverted time of the year," says author and introvert Sophia Dembling, of Dallas, whose "The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World" (Perigree, $14) just hit bookstores. "I don't want to check out of it entirely, but it can just completely overwhelm you, and then you get crabby."
Whereas Susan Cain's "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" is an introvert's manifesto, "The Introvert's Way" celebrates introversion and gives practical advice on how to survive raving extroversion. Holidays, Dembling says, are a true test of an introvert's mettle. She offered these tips:
"It's a lot easier to enjoy parties if we don't feel trapped," she says. "Of course, at office parties, you have to put your best foot forward and pretend to be an extrovert. At those, you really have to put on your clown nose."
Then, after the season's over, take a deep breath and plunge into the new year.
"I like the concept of a clean slate," Dembling says, although she eschews big horn-blowing New Year's Eve parties for quieter celebrations -- say, an evening looking at the night sky with just her husband.
Introverts, indeed, can survive the holidays, she says. It's just a matter of doing it their own way.
"There's this concept that the extrovert way is the right way," Dembling says. "No, it's just a way. And our way is equally valid."