The onset of Eid-ul-Azha brings forth a season filled with excitement, merriment, respect, and charity. Family members and friends alike come out and enjoy the festivities (mainly the food) and with it begins the waves of social events and dawats. But if you're someone who prefers the presence of your own company away from most people, things can get a bit tricky and exhausting. However, with the help of the following survival guide, your ships will hopefully sail (somewhat) smoothly on troubled waters.
Seeing how introverts feel calm and collected when they are completely alone, this may be the most important tip of all. People who tend to enjoy solitude the most often tend to become emotionally/mentally drained after spending a lot of time with other people. This by no means is a reflection of the people the introvert is interacting with, by the way. Even if they're having a lot of fun, the person's “social battery” may run out of juice with prolonged socialising.
So, if anyone feels this way, it would be greatly beneficial to seek out a quiet place where you can recharge your emotional battery. Here, you can calm yourself down and regain composure by listening to music or reading a chapter of a book, which will make you feel energised enough to return to the social atmosphere.
HAVE A FIRST AID KIT
In association to the previous point, a first aid kit is a must for the introvert trying their best to be more social. However, this first aid kit does not contain bandages, ointment, or anything medicinal. This kit will be whatever helps the person cope with the stress that comes with socialising. Since it's very subjective to each individual, the contents can vary greatly.
If you're someone who recharges by listening to music, a special playlist filled with your favourite and a pair of earphones will be your best friends. If you prefer a book, downloading a pdf file of a book on your phone is the way to go. Another therapeutic asset to have at hand would be mobile gaming apps with a calming effect to keep you distracted for an adequate amount of time.
FIND SUSTENANCE IN FOOD
Arguably, the best part of any event during Eid would be the food. Tables laden with a myriad of dishes, all with their own distinct aromas, exuding mouth-watering vibrancy, are truly a wonder to behold. People from all walks of life will gather together in perfect harmony and enjoy the marvellous food. But for an introvert, finding a place at the table in a comfortable environment may be difficult.
The most ideal scenario would be to find a seat at a table or area when it is filled with people you are at ease with. Acquiring the food you desire may seem like a gruelling task, too, but don't feel immobilised by shyness when asking for what you want, especially for the last tikka. However, if things don't go your way and you end up being seated with strangers, fear not. No matter how different you seem to be from them, a sure-fire way of becoming acquaintances with complete strangers is to engage in the sacred art of discussing food. Comment on something minuscule about the beef or polao and watch the magic happen. If things lull into awkward silence, it's completely fine. But if the awkward tension gets to the point where it can be cut with a knife, simply get up, pile some more food on your plate and tell them about how good it is.
STAY CALM AND GROUNDED
One of the biggest problems an introvert faces is social anxiety. It can vary from person to person, (and is not limited to introversion, of course) but generally, introverts tend to feel like they're constantly being scrutinised and analysed. This can limit the need for socialising, even potentially nipping it in the bud.
In times like this, it is best to stay mindful of how you are not constantly being judged. Sure, people analyse each other constantly, but most of the negative thoughts are usually baseless and are products of overthinking. One of the biggest tricks to overcome this is to focus completely on the person or people that you are interacting with. Try to be more present in the conversation and really attempt to understand what the other person is trying to convey through their words and body language. As a result, you will stay distracted enough to not overthink about yourself.
ENJOY YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Events like dawats can be mentally and emotionally taxing. They may result in a lot of awkward encounters and situations or just simply put your introverted self in a highly uncomfortable situation. Additionally, being surrounded by many people can give rise to claustrophobia.
However, they can also bring you a great deal of happiness and allow you to make memories that you will fondly look back on someday. If you allow yourself to be more open, with a little help, to social interactions, it will change your perspective on yourself and others. It will also enforce positive changes in yourself, such as an increase in confidence and self-esteem. But most importantly, it will give you one of the joys of Eid and make it worth remembering with a sense of enthusiasm.
Fatima Jahan Ena considers herself to be a chaotically neutral egg with feelings. Fight her at email@example.com