If you’re an introvert, it can sometimes be intimidating to come into a new work environment. Most work environments are inherently social, so it can be nerve-wracking if you’re not a big talker and immediately comfortable around other people.
Making connections and networking are also major aspects of many different professions. Here are a few ways you can manage your introversion without pretending you’re someone you’re not in the workplace.
While you don’t have to become an all-out extrovert to succeed at work, you can build a few habits that will help you fit in in your workplace. Every week, or at every work event, challenge yourself to branch out by doing one thing you find scary.
Introduce yourself to one new person at the next office party, or say “hi” to that person you always pass in the halls in the morning. In meetings, make one more comment than you normally would. While it’s perfectly fine to be an introvert, this will help you come across as friendly but reserved rather than cold.
Select Your Job Carefully
If you’re an introvert, choose the right job to begin with and it won’t be as much of an issue. Career fields like public relations and sales are probably not for you, while remote positions, office environments where you can get used to seeing the same people over and over again, and any career that involves a lot of independent work would be a better fit.
Avoid careers where you have to constantly get up the nerve to talk to a wide variety of new people, or make public speeches. While you don’t have to totally isolate yourself, you can make it easier on yourself from the beginning by choosing the best environment.
Prepare for Small Talk
Hate small talk? Many introverts do. If you know you have an event coming up where you’ll have to introduce yourself to some higher-ups or schmooze at a party, prepare a few conversation starters or little “scripts” to make things easier.
You don’t want to sound robotic, but choosing a few topics to bring up and some facts to share about yourself when you go around the table for conference icebreakers will make you feel prepared and ease the tension a bit.
Make Time To Unwind
Make sure that you have time to unwind and relax after a long day of pushing against your introverted tendencies. Take time to do things on your own outside of work and to practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or time outdoors.
At work, don’t be afraid to take your lunch by yourself sometimes, or even to take a mini-breather in the bathroom or during a short walk around the office building. This little booster will make it easier for you to take a deep breath and then get back to business.