The Introvert’s Guide To Reading During the Holidays
The holiday season can be a frustrating time for introverts, especially for those of us who like to read. Even if we introverts have time off from work, we often have to use that time for extra chores/errands, or traveling, or spending time at other people’s homes.That leaves little quiet time for reading, and that can be frustrating.
Holidays shouldn’t be frustrating. We introverts need our quiet time, and here’s how to read during holidays without causing conflict or putting ourselves in danger:
- READING IN PUBLIC
Reading is almost essential for holiday traveling because traveling is really boring. However, reading in public places such as airports or bus stations (or even the mall) can be risky because you leave yourself vulnerable to getting conked on the head or having your stuff stolen (or both). It’s easy for evil-doers to sneak up on you while you’re reading in public, so if you absolutely HAVE to read in public….
a. Put your back up against a barrier like a wall or window. Lean against a wall if you’re standing. Sit in a chair that’s against a wall or a window. This way, nobody will sneak up on you.
b. Put your stuff behind your feet if you can’t hold all of it. Keep your legs connected to your possessions so that you’ll feel them if somebody tries to swipe your stuff accidentally.
c. Look up while you’re reading and make eye contact. Give the nod of acknowledgement and then continue reading safely. Even when you’re reading, you need to be aware of your surroundings. If you’re not aware, at least act like you’re aware.
d. Don’t read while you’re walking. You can trip or walk into other people (that usually ticks them off), or you might also get conked on the head.
2. READING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
There’s a stigma attached to reading in public or at social gatherings. It’s okay to watch television, listen to music, or get drunk (to a certain degree), but people will look at you weird if you read. With smart phones, it’s a little easier to get away with it, but you still have to do so in small (or short) doses or else others will think that you’re a tech tool.
Normally, I don’t mind if others think I’m a tool, but during the holidays, I try to get along with others, especially my family, so here are a few tips to enjoying yourself without offending most reasonable people:
a. Read while others are watching TV. People watching TV usually don’t care if somebody else is reading, but be ready to get talked to during commercials.
b. Read if others start talking about politics. If the discussion gets heated, say you’re looking up information on your phone, then read the book of your choice. Let others get worked up into a political froth while you relax and read.
c. Read in an isolated location. Nobody can disturb you or complain about you if they can’t see you. Tell others you need to go out for a smoke (even if you don’t smoke), and they’ll leave you alone unless they smoke. Then you might have to put up with talking AND smoking, so be careful.
3. WHEN NOT TO READ!!!
a. Do NOT read when guests/family arrive or leave.
b. Do NOT read at the meal table while others are eating.
c. Do NOT read while the host is doing work that you can help out with. Help out the host (unless you are the host, but if you’re the host then you probably won’t have time to read). If you help out with the holiday chores, then you have the right to read later.
d. Do NOT read while your kids are acting up. Its okay to read if somebody else’s kids are acting up.
e. Do NOT read while opening presents. If somebody gives you a book, then you may read it while others are opening gifts.
4. GREAT RESULT OF READING IN PUBLIC
Sometimes reading in public or at a gathering can lead to a discussion about books. That in itself is a great reason to read at a gathering. Most conversations are meaningless (which is okay). But a conversation about books is almost always better than conversations about any other topic. It’s better than talking about politics, religion, abortion, television, celebrities, and most sports, but NOT football. Football is the best topic during the holidays, even if you’re reading a book.
5. HORRIBLE RESULT OF READING IN PUBLIC
Sometimes an extrovert stranger will want to talk about books. True, it’s nice to run into others who like to read, but I don’t like talking to people I don’t know and will never see again. I reserve my social energy for my friends (the few I have), family, and co-workers. The last time an extrovert started talking to me about books, I told him my “legal drugs” had just kicked in.
That ended the conversation. Most people, even extroverts, will leave you alone if they think you’re on “legal” drugs.
These rules work for me, but they might not work for you. What tips do you have for reading during the holidays (or any time you’re in public)? If you’re an extrovert, what reading tips do you have for the holidays?