Social Battery

For years I’ve mentioned my issues with social gatherings. I used to come back from conferences or large social gatherings and crash for a few days/weeks. When trying to describe it, it would often sound much more serious than it was. The term “social battery” is so much better for explaining things, as it doesn’t sound like I’m trying to self-diagnose some deep seated problem. 🙂

I have talked about being different people in different contexts, like “conference Tim”, “work Tim” and “home Tim”, which can sound a little schizophrenic, but I’m really just describing coping mechanisms most of us have when dealing with situations. Introverted people don’t all act in the same way. Some people are really quiet, but some people, like me, become almost hyper when they are in a group setting. I think the term “extroverted introvert” is possibly what I am. That behaviour comes with a cost. It’s so unnatural for me that it drains my social battery, and it takes a long time for that to recharge. I know other people who seem to charge their social battery by being in group situations, and their battery drains when they are alone. Everyone is different in this respect.

The pandemic made me even more aware of how my social battery works. The switch to working from home and the break from conferences was a game changer for me. I had never spent so much time alone, and it was fantastic. So much so that I still work from home, and have stopped doing conferences permanently (probably).

This is one of the reasons I rant so much about company attitudes to working from home. We are all different, and if you want to get the most out of people, you have to recognise that and use it to your advantage. I think companies that value diversity in all its forms, including neurodiversity, have a long term advantage. That’s just my opinion, and maybe I have a vested interest in believing that, but that’s how I feel. 🙂