That quiet guy at work...
May 16, 2012 6:19 PM Subscribe
My introversion is causing some friction in the workplace. How do I address it?
posted by photo guy to Human Relations (21 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
So I've always been the quiet, introverted type - even when I was a little kid I preferred reading a book or going for a quiet walk over socializing or hanging out w/ friends. For me, it's kind of beyond just enjoying my own company, it's more like 98% of the time I literally say very little when I'm around others. The 2% of the time I actually am chatty is a rarity, usually only occurring when I'm in an exceptionally good mood, feel relaxed, and maybe had a drink or two beforehand. I guess you could say I'm kind of like I'm Raj from "Big Bang Theory", except Raj only clams up in front of women, I do it in front of everyone. Weird analogy perhaps, but it's the best one that I can think of :)
So fast-forward to today, when I pretty much got reamed by a co-worker for not being more assertive/outspoken in meetings, being told I'm not doing my job if I don't. Thing is, I do my job great - I regularly get compliments from my clients, my other co-workers like me, my supervisor gave me a glowing annual review just last month - it's just that I'm not chatty. I do speak up in meetings on occasion, but I generally only do so if I have a question or something constructive to add that hasn't already been addressed. Said co-worker's opinion that I'm not doing my job well doesn't seemed to be shared by anyone else, so I'm not too worried about it.
However, this has started me thinking - how can I improve? Just saying "speak up more" or chiding me for not being a social butterfly isn't gonna help, I need workable suggestions. Part of the issue is that I don't "control" a conversation well - if you have me in a group, I just naturally end up backing off and let others dominate the conversation. I do a bit better one-on-one, but I still get worn out pretty quickly. My job involves a fair bit of networking and from time to time requires attendance at social events (happy hours, etc), so finding a way to cope/improve would certainly make my life easier.
tl;dr how does a quiet person who works hard (not anti-social, just a man of few words) do a better job of interacting in the workplace?