Personality Type At The Office Christmas Party

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Christmas greetings to all. I was talking with my son about personality type (as many people do, of course) and we got talking about what happens at office Christmas parties. Steve said, "Hey, that would make a good post for D*I*Y Planner, Dad." I agreed, so here we are.

You'll recall a post I did a few weeks ago on the basics of personality type (you can find it here if you'd like to refresh yourself on what type you are). I’ve been talking about psychological type and how we can take advantage of it in our businesses, but much of the most interesting stuff that happens in business happens at the office Christmas party. Now, I'm currently self-employed and so my office parties are a little thin, but I have been to many of them and it seems to me that two things happen. Sometimes, people can be pretty well guaranteed to act out their type, just more so, and thus we know if these people are going to be super social, fairly reserved, or so on. Other times, people will become almost the opposite of who they normally are, as --usually under the influence of booze-- the neglected (or opposite) side of their personality comes through, sometimes with ugly results. We each have all aspects of type in us, but we're better at using some of them than others and Christmas parties are one of those times when those other parts of our personalities come out, causing interesting things to happen. This doesn't mean that people suddenly become pyromaniacs or a cannibals (usually), but it does mean that we may barely recognize the person we're talking to.

With that in mind, here are some of the things you're likely to see at parties this holiday season....

  • Extroverts, who normally want to connect with everyone and be the center of attention, are in their element at the Christmas party. They're not just extroverted, they're super extroverted. They want to contact everyone, even people they don’t know and wish them a "Merry Christmas," and sometimes blurt out personal information that nobody else wants to hear. Extroverts may dance on the boardroom table, discover a new use for their webcam, or suddenly decide to fax photocopies of their naughty bits to the investors.
  • Introverts, normally quiet and reserved, those people who often keep to themselves at the office and seem wise and inscrutable there, may well drink too much, so as to connect to their extroverted side. Who wants to be wise and inscrutable at a Christmas party? They want to be lively and interesting too, but they're not very good at using their extroverted side, like a right-handed person trying to swing a hammer with their left hand, and they can go overboard and seem like an extrovert hooked up to a car battery. They may become the life of the party, but they may also do things they'll later regret and find unbelievable.
  • Intuitive feeling types, those people who feel strongly about their crazy ideas, may suddenly have the crazy idea to make a pass at someone and sneak off for a Hey, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, I see you use the D*I*Y Planner too, Bark, Woof, Hubba-Hubba.
  • Feeling types, those people who are always trying to look after people and make sure everyone gets along at work, tend to continue to try to relate to people and make sure that everyone has a good time. If, like the introverts, the feeling types' undeveloped thinking side emerges, they may become the very opposite and say very cruel things and gossip shamefully.
  • Thinkers are those logical, organized, sometimes rigid, people who make our offices run. If the feelers make sure everyone is happy, the thinkers make sure that some work actually gets done. At a Christmas party, thinkers tend to stand to one side and admire others having a good time. If their repressed feeling emerges, they may get extremely sentimental and even tearful over old Christmas memories, songs, presents, etc.
  • Judging types, who usually organize a party into 5 minute increments, loose their lists, and
  • Extrovert perceptive types party till the sun comes up in the morning - you don't want to leave, 'cause something interesting might be about to happen.

There are often many fuzzy and sometimes painful memories from office Christmas parties. People try to remember what they did, said, who they flirted with... and then try to deal with others' reactions. The extrovert may wind up hanging from the ceiling, the thinker crying in the corner. People often say, "Don't know what got into them." Of course, the solution to this is often fairly simple: watch the booze intake. Sometimes it's nice to let your other side out, but it's good to keep it from getting totally out of hand. Most of us would prefer to have a good time, rather than doing things we'll regret and winding up in the washroom throwing up our pancreas. Likewise, if you keep the liquor to a reasonable level, you'll pass the night as you, rather than as that strange opposite person who says and does all those crazy things you never do.

Does anyone have any Christmas party stories they'd like to share, strange things that happened or clever stories that had to be made up on the spot for the firefighters? We'd all be interested in hearing them, so share it with the class. No naughtly details, please: we can all use our imaginations.

One final note on Christmas parties: whatever type you are, please do us all a favor and drink responsibly this Christmas, so we can all get home in one piece. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and all that,

Henry and Steve Sharam
p.s. Check out our blog to learn the answer to that oldest of questions: What the heck is Santa's Personality Type, anyway?

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The Christmas Party and The Weasel

I was once invited to a Christmas party at a mid-size tech company a few years back. It wasn't your typical creative/ wear-your-hair-long sort of place; in fact, the boss was extremely strict and very conservative, traits that didn't sit well with many of the techies and more imaginative staff, and especially one particularly two-faced individual who brown-nosed every occasion he got, yet made rather cynical and derogatory remarks when the big guy wasn't around. Needless to say, this got on everybody's nerves. Having a hard-assed employer is one thing, but living day-to-day with the "Weasel" (such was his nickname) was more than people could bear.

It so happened that the boss imbibed a little too much at this gathering, and retreated to his office for a little nap on his couch while the party continued. The Weasel, fortified by one too many Schnapps, began to ruminate upon the big guy's inability to manage individuals. Others egged him on, and he began to get louder and louder, and in fact jumped atop the boardroom table to impersonate the boss, spouting out a number of swear words and --ahem-- sexually-charged innuendos.

While he was atop the boardroom table, imitating the boss's deep tones, quirks of speech, and gesticulating wildly with his hands and midsection, a couple of the techies turned on the video-conferencing camera, as well as the direct link-up in the boss's office.

The show continued for another five minutes before the boss appeared in the doorway and another, completely different, show began.

The Weasel was no more. And there was much merriment.


That warms my heart

It's Christmas stories like that that just warm my heart, make me feel good about the spirit of the season, that everything will work out o.k. in the end.
Once, I went to this Christmas party where somebody got kicked by a horse...I'm not sure where I was going with that. My intuition must be broken:(

Steve Sharam

When the cloak of civilisation falls...

As a non-drinking inscrutable type of chap I find I have time a plenty to observe the behaviour of my associates but never viewed them from a Jungian perspective. What I have noted on many an occasion is that when the cloak of civilisation falls it's as if the 'subject' has been given a shot of thiopental sodium. The Ãœber-ich or superego takes the night off and I find myself over whelmed not only with offers of sex and stupidity but pent up angst rushing through like a breached dam. Rather than being helpful however I find the people who may benefit from counselling are the ones most likely to become defensive and refuse all offers of help :(

...and now I bid you all adieu, as I check out Santa's Personality Type on Henry & Steve's site. ;)

That sounds about right

That sounds about right. Not sure about civilization, but certainly common civilized discourse goes out the window pretty quick when the hootch appears. It seems that there's a lot of pent up aggression and sexuality (insert Freudian comment here) that never gets released at work, whereas at home it would play itself out one way or another... except at the office Christmas party. Some interesting stuff happens, though I've never seen anything as thoroughly entertaining as Doug's story.

Steve Sharam

It's worse when they've been on the wagon...

I work overseas in an environment where alcohol is absolutely forbidden, and my co-workers and I go between 4 and 5 months without the opportunity to have a drink.

It's interesting to observe them... With some, it seems that they feel a need to "catch up" on four months of drinking -- something that by that point can be done with only 2 or 3 beers.

The sad part, however, is that this is done in Dubai, a fairly conservative country, where public intoxication will get one arrested. And just about every week, there's another one willing to risk his freedom and job to go on a bender, when he could have waited until he was safely home.

I just want to take a moment and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and say how much I enjoy this site.

Wow, time to cut down

Wow, that is pretty extreme. Seems like some people use alcohol as an excuse to act like complete imbeciles and get antsy when that outlet is taken away. As bill Cosby said, nothing like ending up in a bar washroom watching your shoes come out of your mouth. Maybe these guys should look into Budhism:)

Well thank you very much. Actually, we enjoy producing the site as much as you enjoy reading it, mainly because we like to hear ourselves talk:P

Steve Sharam