While I was sitting on the toilet the other day reading a months-old copy of The Atlantic, something caught my eye in its annual "Ideas List" -- the notion that employers should hire introverts. As one of those annoying extroverts, I immediately got upset and irritated that the article wasn't about me, and began defending my extroverted self from the toilet seat to an audience of exactly no one. It's not that I think introverts aren't great, but sometimes, it seems like extroverts get a bad rap.
Later, post my internal introvert/extrovert conversation on the john, I was at a holiday party for a friend. Standing awkwardly on the sidelines with my mom and sister, I thought about how, whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, the annual holiday party season can be a long and arduous one. It's like holiday parties always go one of two ways: either they are the most epic throwdown of the century, where legendary work-gossip anecdotes are born, or they're more painfully awkward than that time you met up with someone who totally did not look at all like they did on their OKCupid profile. Regardless, I came up with some possible hints to help make your next holiday party better.
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5. It's okay to get drunk -- just don't get schwasted If you drink, this is what holiday parties are for! Getting drunk around family and coworkers may not be part of our daily interactions, but at this time of year it is completely acceptable. Everyone else is imbibing and if you're lucky, it's on the company dime. But do yourself a favor and don't get tethered to the bar. Introverts and extroverts can both fall prey to this habitual party stance, because drinking takes the edge off, so it's easy to post up by the booze.
The problem is, even if you think you're a funny drunk, chances are you're not that funny to everyone else. And those people may end up babysitting you and/or remembering every single moment of the night for you, including every time you decided to not-consensually do "Da Butt" on every coworker within a three-foot radius.
4. Take a date -- even if you don't have a significant other-type person Listen, coworkers and family members want gossip. I know this because I am both of these things, and I live for this shit. Being the ultimate Fag Hag, I can reach into a grab bag of gorgeous, entertaining, charming, socially advantageous dudes and find a date who will look fabulous on the arm and keep the party abuzz with everyone questioning whether or not I finally have a boyfriend. (Being not-married and 32, this is the most asked question next to "are your glasses real?") At our annual Westword holiday party last week, I pulled Spencer from my ranks -- my infallible gay husband. He "looks" straight (if his pompadour isn't too high) and, as a bonus, his face was slightly torn up, which made him look hot AND tough. I didn't tell anyone that the marks on his purdy little cheeks and nose were from when he got a little too friendly with gin the night before and fell into his Christmas tree. That was for the gossipers to gossip about.
3. Get high before or during your holiday party. But remember: There is such a thing as too high. Nothing says bonding like discovering a family member or coworker also smokes weed. In the time-honored tradition at a wedding reception to step out and toke up while everyone else looks desperate on the dance floor trying to catch the bouquet or garter. Do the same at your holiday party. If you don't know who your fellow weed smokers are already, do the sniff test -- someone at your party has inevitably hot-boxed in the parking lot.
Or, do like I do and just hit up your coworker's husband -- you know, the cool white guy with dreads who just gives you trees on the spot. And if you're lucky, he'll also give you a full history lesson on the origin of this fine, stanky, sticky-icky Grand Daddy Purp Indica.
But you must also beware: If you smoke too much ganja at the holiday party and you're stuck there for a while, you may find yourself in uncomfortable, paranoid company. Last week, I had to talk a friend down from his too-high perch via telephone as he hid in the bathroom. Apparently, he got too stoned prior to the shindig to take the edge off, and ended up laughing at a stranger's inane comment about his Santa hat being "hella long," out loud, for a good thirty minutes. Everyone stared at him until he wanted to die -- and if you've ever been too stoned, you know what that feels like: EXACTLY LIKE YOU'RE GONNA DIE.
2. As tempting as it is, don't eat everything involved in the holiday spread
In other words, don't stress-eat the entire bowl of Gardetto's because that's what you ended up standing by at the party. Just because your aunt made an entire Crock Pot of Lil' Smokies (you know, those terrifyingly delicious, once-a-year-for-good-reason finger sausages) doesn't mean you should have fifty. Believe me, as someone who turns into a human garbage can at the sight of a fancy deli tray, I'm saying this from a place of concern. The food hangover you'll have in the morning will feel ten times worse, mentally, when you realize it's from eating 47 pieces of Oreo-gunk your molecular gastronomist cousin turned into a dessert she lovingly refers to as "Reindeer Poop." 1. Do let yourself have a good time. This might be the only time you get drunk, high or even eat with/in front of your family and coworkers. The rest of the year, your relationships probably don't involve a dance floor, either, so take advantage. Show your cubicle-mate that you can Dougie, Step and do the Cupid Shuffle. You may also be surprised to find out that someone else has a choreographed dance to go along with Clarence Carter's "Strokin'."
Or maybe that's just me.
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This story originally appeared on Show and Tell, our arts and culture blog.