The thing about family weddings is that family is there, in Costco volume. This is amazing, wonderful and a blessing, but also a bit overwhelming for those of us that don't feed off the energy of others. I recently attended a wedding that was lovely and very introvert friendly, but I put together a plan for next time. These are some helpful hints to surviving a large, noisy family function without alienating others.
The Restroom is the Best Hiding Spot Ever
To the untrained eye, it looks like a standard issue bathroom. To an introvert, it's a teeny tiny oasis of calm, quiet and nobody is going to be rude and question why you are in there so long. Also, you can survive off water in there for quite a while.
Image: Mark Hammond via Flickr
Use the Buddy System
This seems counter intuitive, but stick with me. Find another kindred spirit introvert. Develop a secret squirrel distress signal so you know when your buddy needs to be extracted. Make sure it's subtle, because you can't casually integrate vigorous jazz hands into conversations without raising suspicions.
My youngest sister and I use a double tap on a nearby surface as if we are surrendering a wrestling march.
Image: Outreachr.com via Flickr
Channel Your Inner Mary Poppins
If you can't find a grown up introvert, identify the parents of a subdued, preferably only child (even better if they are an infant that needs rocking). Offer to babysit. You aren't antisocial, you are selfless. You also just made friends with some very grateful parents (who you can communicate with at a later date by mail or some other introvert safe method like text message).
Make a New Friend
This is my new friend Kyle. He's really cool and he gets me. He doesn't ask a lot of questions. We sit in blissful silence. He thinks I'm witty.
Feign Illness, Something Not Contagious
"Sorry, I would love to but I'm just getting over..." Pick a migraine or sunstroke. Finish that sentence with Ebola and you might have more alone time than you intended.
Be Prepared to "Come Out" to Your Family
"This is just hard for me since I'm...an introvert". Give them time to process the information. They might be surprised, particularly if you always played well with others as a child.
Smile a Lot
People will tell you to smile. Resist the urge to say "I don't perform unpaid emotional labour". It sounds like "I don't do windows". If you are smiling, you don't have to talk so embrace it.
This is a great way to limit the head count in your personal bubble, plus you get to burn off yummy celebration food calories.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry!
Nobody expects you to talk with your mouth full. Smile and nod and mmhmm. The food at my sister's wedding was incredible enough to discourage me from talking too much. It's called an "amuse-bouche" because it's a party in your mouth and with no other attendees, that's a party any introvert can get behind.
Be a Paparazzo
Avoid small talk by snapping pictures of other guests. If anyone tries to engage you, smile and move onto your next subject. Use your flash to distract and make your exit. You are not anti-social, you are artistic and helping the bride document her special day.