Work Christmas Parties – An Introverts Nightmare?
Author Jessica Swanepoel  | 

Work Christmas parties are a great way to celebrate the year with co-workers, show appreciation for your staff and strengthen your company culture. However, for some, this time of year can be overwhelming and cause anxiety due to most companies planning their parties with only the extroverted employee in mind.

Most companies list diversity as one of their values, but time and time again will only deliver a ‘one size fits all’ solution. When you leave the planning to a group of extroverts, they are all gung-ho loud venues, pub crawls, and karaoke which invariably leads to a night of chaos and heavy drinking.

Introverts are usually more than happy to celebrate with the rest of their team, but if only given the option of an overstimulating, overly loud, alcohol-fuelled environment this will lead to them leaving early, not engaging, or feeling disconnected from the company and their co-workers.

A common misconception that we hold in any work environment is that you must be extroverted to succeed, with many viewing their introverted traits as a weakness. In a study by Adam Grant [1] 96 percent of leaders and managers’ report being extroverted, in another poll by Grant [1], 65 percent of senior executives said it was a liability for leaders to be introverted, while only 6 percent saw introversion as an advantage. This would lead you to the conclusion that extroverts make better leaders, however, this is not true. Although being extroverted might give you a helping hand getting through the door, it doesn’t make them better leaders than introverts. Grant [1] found that both personality types were equally successful overall and were able to get different results whilst working collaboratively with different people.

Susan Cain, author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking [2], said that ‘By creating environments that encourage introverts to understand and draw on their natural strengths, organisations will increase productivity, innovation, and impact. To support organsations in accomplishing this goal, we must help introverts to communicate, connect, and lead in an authentic manner, while also teaching managers to better engage with, and lead, their introverted employees.’

Once an introvert feels comfortable, they could easily end up being the life of the party, but often the party planners are extroverts who assume that everyone will want to take part in the showiest, loudest event without thinking of their introverted counterparts.

It is easy to get caught up in the introvert vs. extrovert dichotomy, however, as a business, you need a party that brings joy to everyone. Accommodating those who aren’t as comfortable in lively situations doesn’t have to dampen the joy that is celebrating EVERYONE’S year of work.


[1] 5 Myths About Introverts and Extroverts ( Quietrev, Adam Grant

[2] Susan Cain | Behind the Brand #89 – YouTube Susan Cain