Yesterday I figured out why I get so anxious at these conferences - although I had an inkling all along: I am way more introverted than the majority of people there.
We all took this work profile test, and it gives you a "mark" on a scale of 30 for four work/personality traits. These are introvert/extrovert, structured/flexible, creative/practical, and analytical/beliefs.
In general, there is about a 2:1 ratio of extroverts to introverts, which was the case at the conference. What was interesting though, is a lot of people were on the extreme end of the extrovert scale (i.e., scores of 15 and above). My score was 18...on the introvert side. Only one person (out of about 50) was more introverted than me at 22. The next most introverted had scores of 11/12.
Interestingly, people were really surprised that I was that much of an introvert. Mostly because I can speak to people well, I share my opinions, etc.. It really bothers me that there is a stigma that introverts are social idiots who are shy and scared of people. That's just not the case! It's just that it takes energy for us to interact with people...while that gives energy to extroverts. They feed off of it, while introverts feed off of alone time.
So, I really started to understand why this conference in particular grates on me like nails on a chalkboard. Seriously. These people just keep talking and talking and talking and talking. They also love being in big groups, and end up going everywhere together...and talking. It wears me down so quickly that I end up opting out of dinner plans because I just cannot handle it anymore.
I am dreading going back today.