I have been a member of a special interest group for several years, which shall remain unnamed. Okay, it’s a book group. One evening the discussion turned to the old-fashioned custom of dropping in on neighbours for coffee or a chat. Since I live in a village where everyone lives nearby, this is easy to do.

Come over any time

This is a phrase that few introverts utter. While all my companions tossed out invitations to “drop in any time”, my comment was a tad different.

“Please don’t drop in on me.”

Besides the fact that I work at home and run a business during daylight (and sometimes night time) hours, and when someone drops in on me, it means chunks of time stolen from my business, I just don’t want to have certain kinds of people in my house.

They’re called “other” people.

Besides, I don’t drink coffee and am unclear on how the coffee maker even works, which in a pinch also works to discourage casual visitors.

I didn’t exactly say that I’d set the dogs on anyone who had the temerity to ring my doorbell. (It would be a hollow threat since I don’t have dogs.) But I’m pretty sure the look in my eyes (commonly called a glare) got the point across.

Introverts are not party people

I believe that parties were invented by and for extroverts who get their batteries charged by camaraderie, revelry, and social merrymaking. Introverts generally wish they had brought a book—and sometimes do. For some introverts even Skype calls are too invasive. Being with people sucks an introvert's energy like a shop vac sucks up little kid's toys.

What if you have to entertain?

I’m going on record as saying that entertaining in my home is one of my least favourite things to do. It’s right up there with dental visits and camping in a tent. Just to be clear, introverts are not usually shy. We’re just not saying out loud what we are thinking.

I’ve come up with some tips to help the introvert who is forced by social or spousal pressure to open the doors of his or her home to invaders—I mean, guests.

Keep it simple

Why prolong the distress of the whole thing by spending 3 days planning, shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, preparing, and serving for the thing? Whatever simple means to you, do that. It could be a tub of canned pop and a bowl of salt and vinegar chips, or table games and a cheese plate.

No matter what flights of fancy your creative mind dreams up, resist the urge to indulge them. I promise, you will be sorry if you go ahead with your Martha Stewart illusions.

Get rid of them early

If you greet guests in your pyjamas and slippers they will be less inclined to hang around until the robins get up. If they can’t take the hint from your bathrobe, try yawning at appropriate intervals and rubbing your eyes with your fists. Deep sighs help, too.

If they are still not quick enough on the uptake, try feeding the dog some grass clippings so he’ll throw up on the carpet. Then you’ve got an excuse to rush him to the vet and everyone will have to go home.

When you’ve had all you can take and they’re still quaffing beverages and guffawing, sneak away to the basement or laundry room where the electrical panel resides and turn off all the breaker switches except the front door light.

When the last hanger-on drives out of sight, you can turn your lights back on, go to bed, and read that book.

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