Being Introverted Doesn’t Mean You’re Not a Team Player
After-work drinks, team lunches and office parties are usually deemed as a fun way to connect with your coworkers, and for most people, are the highlights of a long work week, month or year. But for some, especially the more introverted, these events can feel more like work, and sometimes, like a test you don’t want to take.
It’s important for employees of a company to feel like they’re part of a team, and share the same, or at least similar, goals (obviously). This is something that may be hard to convey when you’re introverted. You may have overheard a coworker call out another coworker for not being a “team player” because they’re quiet or don’t really engage in water cooler chat during lunch. Being introverted, and being in an office (even if it’s a “cool” office with bean bags and ping pong tables), can feel emotionally taxing, like a performance, and be mentally draining before you add appearing “sociable” on top of it all. Not everyone can be a social butterfly, extremely bubbly or the jokester – and that’s okay. Pointing out that a colleague is quiet is not all of sudden going to turn them into a chatterbox, and quite frankly, it’s annoying to hear on their end. Being quiet is not a defect or a bad character trait – and, unlike Hollywood would have you believe, is certainly not indicative of being a serial killer.
Don’t be offended if your introverted colleague would rather forgo getting a drink after work: it’s possible they’re busy, don’t like drinking or just don’t like you (just kidding).
The simple act of two people working together doesn’t necessitate them being best friends, or even that they'll get along.
If you consider yourself introverted, don’t feel bad or let a colleague make you feel bad for just being yourself. People should be allowed to be introverts in the workplace – it doesn’t mean that they’re less enthusiastic, rude or stuck up. These are usually all misconceptions, and as long as the work gets done, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Invite your introverted colleagues out to lunch, but don’t pressure them to join – you could even initiate doing something one-on-one, as this might be more comfortable than large group settings. Mange your expectations, find common interests, and hopefully over time, they’ll open up.
If you’re an introvert, you’re still a key player in your team. Do you get your work done? Do you get it done on time? If yes, then you’re a team player! It really is that plain and simple. So keep on shining quietly and remember, you’re doing great.
PS: the office party is in decline, with over 40% of adults preferring to celebrate at home. Introverts rejoice!
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