Not Anti-Social, Just Socially Selective

Stress has become a familiar companion in our lives. Thanks to modern technology, we now have the tools to monitor and understand our stress levels better. I recognize myself as an ambivert, and wearing my Garmin watch, I have noticed an exciting trend – my stress level seems to double on office or event days. So, is it me, or is it the environment?

How My Colleague’s Dog Improved My Company Event Experience

I took part in a lovely company event held few weeks back. Thanks to a colleague and his already elderly doggo, we skipped the organized transportation and carpooled with like-minded, introverted people. We had a nice chat and a few really heartfelt laughter. It was a good preparation for the event for a person like me. I could prepare and charge for the event by spending time with a small group of people I already know and who know me.

Balancing Two Worlds

Ambiverts are individuals who possess the qualities of both introverts and extroverts. They can adapt to various social situations but also need time for introspection and solitude. Ambiverts often find themselves walking a fine line between needing social interaction and seeking solitude to recharge. It’s important to note that personality traits like introversion, extroversion, and ambiversion exist on a spectrum, and individuals may not neatly fit into one category.

Understanding Personality Diversity in the IT World

There are no universally accepted statistics or precise figures regarding the proportion of introverts, ambiverts, and extroverts among IT developers because personality traits can be influenced by many factors, including cultural, social, and individual differences. Some studies have explored the personality traits of people in technical fields, but the results can vary.

However, it’s a common stereotype that IT developers may have a higher proportion of introverted or ambiverted individuals due to the nature of the work, which often involves focused, solitary tasks like coding and problem-solving. 

Some might start thinking about IT-oriented Christmas parties. What a blast that would be 😉 You should visit and experience it!

“It’s not you; it’s me.”

Many people with introvert traits would like those with more extroverted peers to recognize that ambiverts and introverts may not always prefer open offices, large masses, or loud places because they value one-on-one – discussion or chatting in a small group. These quieter environments allow them to harness their creativity and productivity, and they need time for self-reflection and personal space to maintain their well-being.

So, for the Extroverts’, who are excited about the possibilities of meeting people and being social, I want to say, don’t take our absence or silence personally. It’s like they say at the airplane safety demonstrations “… secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”

And believe me, it’s not like we can’t have fun! Our fun might just have different elements than yours.

Strategies to Tame Office-Day and Event Stress

I have noticed a consistent pattern when analyzing my watch data – my stress levels tend to double on office or event days compared to days off. Now, even a day after the event, and after a good 8 hours of sleep, my stress level is still up because I drove back home during the night in horrible weather conditions and went to bed way later than usual. 

I know I must constantly evaluate my need for social interaction while prioritizing moments of solitude to recharge, to keep myself productive, people-compatible, or just socially acceptable 🙂 However pleasant events the company or my private life will offer, I need to consider equally the time I need to recover from that. I also need to manage it on a smaller scale. During office days or events, it means short breaks to step away from the hustle and bustle by finding a quiet spot for a few minutes. Otherwise, I become one of those Mrs. Grumpy Pants.

Understanding the Need for Recharging at Social Gatherings

Going back to the lovely event I participated in. The food was good, and I was happy to be seated with a fellow introverted colleague I already knew and a really extroverted communications colleague I hadn’t met before. We had good discussions over several different subjects, but I also noticed the music was loud, and there was a constant buzz around me. I had a few breaks, one standing in the rain outside for a few minutes just to give my ears a break from the background noise. But overall, I met nice people, had nice chats, and understood the moment I needed to leave.

When it was time to go, I found my IT crew, happy but tired, chatting from a hotel lobby in a separate corner of sofas with no background music. Some people would consider it rude to leave the party early; I know they just needed to recharge.

I hope you will have your kind of Holiday celebrations!