Few things are as horrifying to an introvert as spending eight hours a day, five days a week, for decades, surrounded by extroverts. Everybody wants to talk, to hang out, to be friendly, while all you want to do is get your work done.
Furthermore, you might be worried that due you might not be able to advance, to thrive in your company, just because you are not the best communicator out there. We can, however, assure you that there is nothing further from the truth.
Namely, in order to avoid looking cold or standoffish, while at the same time networking properly, you must not fight your nature.
Introverts need alone time to recharge, to improve their mood and to gain some emotional energy to tackle the day and reach success. Bellow, you can find some tips on how to thrive as an introvert in an extrovert workplace.
Contribute in your own way
Working at any company means you are part of a team, whether you like to or not. So, try to contribute in your own way, giving the company the best you can give, in line with your talents and skills. We advise you try not to judge people, and to work hard on accepting your role in any group.
This means, explain to people that the best way you work is alone. Introverts have to work alone, they are energized by letting their minds wander, and by having some alone time.
Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t communicate with people. Rather, get as much personal space as you can, see if you can only attend meetings in person that are vital and that you really have to attend.
Once again, you have to politely, clearly explain to people what you are like, and how you operate.
You need to find some alone time
A defining trait of introverts is the need to recharge through getting alone time after hanging out with people. Understand that finding some alone time is vital.
It’s a necessity as much as your lunch is. In more dramatic cases, not enough emotional rest can lead to severe burnout and even depression, which can then lead you to contact professional personal injury lawyers, and in general a nightmare to everybody involved.
Of course, this is something of a rather dramatic scenario, but one that can happen nonetheless.
So, here is what we adviser. Have lunch alone whenever you can, for as long as you can. Go to the nearby park, your company’s roof, or just have it in your office or cubicle.
Even if you’re afraid of seeming rude to people when acting in this manner, your mental and emotional health always comes first.
Still, a healthy compromise is having lunch with your co-workers once or twice a week, all the while skedaddling away during the rest of the week. Another option is just having lunch only once per week.
Stick to schedule
If you have the option, create and stick to a schedule at the office.
So, if part of your job demands you speak to people on a regular basis, whether we are talking about clients or about your co-workers, we advise you set only one specific part of your day for such things.
If you know that people will start arriving somewhere between 3 and 5 pm, for example, you can prepare yourself mentally for this on time.
Of course, you need to figure out how to stay on schedule, but this can be made easier if you inform everybody in the office about your schedule and office hours. Do the same for any hours you are out of the office, so people know when you will respond to their emails and phone calls.
Focus on only a few relationships
While introverts aren’t really fans of small talk, it doesn’t mean they are by their natures shy.
Shyness is a sign of a lack of confidence at any given moment, while introversion is more of an issue of what makes one energized, and what saps one’s energy.
So, with that in mind, nobody expects you to be the life off the party. But, there is no reason you don’t develop a relationship with one or two people.
By focusing on becoming friends with one or two people, instead of obsessing over not being able to become everyone’s friend at the office, you will reduce your stress levels. The office will seem more welcoming, and more pleasant, if you know you have at least one friend there.
Be understanding of your differences
Don’t fall into the trap of judging people, or yourself, thinking one is better than the other.
Introverts and extroverts are equally important, they all have valid roles in our lives both within the office, and outside of it. So, don’t judge people, or consider them shallow, just because they enjoy small talk.
Furthermore, don’t judge yourself if you can’t really fit in. Doing that too often can lead to a lack of confidence, and may even cause some mental health issues. If needed, seek therapy for any anxiety or depression you might feel, no matter what the source of said issues is.
Also know that once you stop judging yourself, you will find it easier to stop judging others. By changing the things you can, and accepting the things you can’t, you will become a more efficient employee, work better with others, and actually enjoy the company of others, to a lesser or greater degree.
Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean it’s impossible to achieve success without changing your core personality. With some work and introspection, not only can you survive an extroverted work environment, but you can acutely thrive in it.
So, try to invest your energy into only a few relationships, having one or two close friends at the office. Don’t judge people, or yourself, but rather understand that we are all different.
Work on contributing to the company in the best way you can, the way that is most in line with your abilities and talents. Finally, try to stick to your schedule, and find some alone time to recharge.