So you’re an introvert. You’re socially awkward and a lot shy. And the thought of meeting and talking to a lot of new people makes you sweat bullets. But, you just started a new job and you want to befriend your new coworkers.
Since we know we live in a world that values extroverts and being socially confident, you need to buck up. Thankfully, the rules are pretty simple. Try these when you want to connect with at least a couple of people at your new workplace.
Smile and say ‘Hello’ –
Smile at your new coworkers, but try not to grin like a piranha. A small, but sincere smile, and a hello can go a ways to warm people up to you. Not only does it show your new coworkers that you’re friendly and not stuck up, it might cheer them up a bit to see a friendly face.
Strike up a simple conversation-
You don’t have to contemplate the universe or discuss the meaning of life with your office mates- at least not yet. As an introvert, you probably have trouble thinking up ways to start a conversation. Try asking open-ended questions. For instance, ‘Hey, heard your team’s handling a tough project. How’s that going?’ or ‘Nice shirt! Where did you get it?’ be the listener, more than the talker. See? Easy peasy (kind of).
Take up some initiative –
Take up an initiative that would put you into contact with other people at your office. Maybe Christmas is coming up. How about handling the whole Secret Santa business? Or how about being a part of the team co-ordinating the next office party? Or offer to share your Uber with another coworker and split the fare. Sound fair? That way, you’d get to connect with some people in a positive way. And the best bit? You’ll only be talking to a couple of people at a time, just how you like it.
Add on Social Media –
Sounds like a no-brainer. Social media requires no actual physical contact, and you can learn a bit about your new coworkers too. This might even help you find something in common with someone, and help in striking up a conversation. ‘How about that new Star Wars movie, eh?’
Try following these steps and you just might end making a friend or two. BUT! Yes, there is a ‘but.’ If you do try these, persist and still don’t end up making any friends, it’s not the end of the world. You could be a cultural misfit at your new workplace- everybody is on one track and you might be running on the other. It happens.
Or perhaps there are tidy little cliques, like in high school, and no one’s allowed in until a certain amount of time passes, or if you look a certain way. And of course, maybe you just made a poor first impression on them and they can’t see you in any other way now- and that’s a whole other post.
Its okay if you want to be alone. Most introverts function better that way. And remember, this is just your workplace. All you need to focus on is getting the job done well.