So you’re an introvert, and you find yourself in an office situation where you need to mingle. You’re not horrified—introverts aren’t social hermits, after all—but you may feel a tad bit uncomfortable about spending so much time with so many people.
Being an introvert in a very gregarious office setting can be hard, but that doesn’t mean you need to play the wallflower and come up with excuses to leave early. Instead of thinking about how drained you’ll be after spending time with your colleagues, take it as an opportunity to build relationships. To help you out, here are six ways to make the most of your team-bonding session, whether it’s a team lunch, an office party, or even a team-building adventure challenge.
1. Be observant.
Attending office gatherings is a great opportunity to assess the personalities of each of your teammates. Who do you think you might mesh well with? Who will take a little more effort to get close to? Spending time with your colleagues can give you a sense of where you stand with people, which will enable you to better think of ways to properly interact with others.
2. Make small talk.
As tedious as you may find casual conversation, it is in fact one of the best ways to start friendships. Take advantage of situations where you can have a one-on-one chat with a colleague. Begin with a tentative introduction, then try talking about something you have in common—like the food in your cafeteria and the best places to eat near the office. From there, you’ll find that it’s easier to progress to other things that are more in line with your interests.
3. Go for quality relationships.
You don’t need to be a social butterfly to be successful in the work place. Go for a few quality relationships instead of a lot of casual connections, as in the long run, these will make better emotional investments. However, being nice and cordial to acquaintances is also a must. Remember that being an introvert is no excuse for being rude or antisocial.
4. Don’t be afraid to lead.
Contrary to popular belief, not all popular personalities are extroverts. In fact, a lot of great leaders are introverts. Historical figures like Mahatma Ghandi and Abraham Lincoln as well as celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn and Emma Watson are all noted introverts, and they have made their mark in the world in one way or another. So when you suddenly find yourself at the helm of an activity, don’t be afraid to take responsibility. Introverts are naturally good thinkers and strategists, and your hitherto dormant leadership skills might just come to the fore, which could help you impress your bosses too.
5. Start social rituals to stay connected.
Put your love of consistency to good use. Once you’ve built relationships with your colleagues, take time to nurture them by creating social rituals that require you to interact with your office mates within the workday. Walk around your area, visit a colleague in his cubicle, or invite one to lunch. This way, you’ll be able to stay in touch with what’s happening around you, plus you’ll get to strengthen the bonds you’ve made.
6. Take the time to recharge.
After spending time with your colleagues, always remember to withdraw to your favorite quiet place and gather your thoughts. Introverts recharge away from crowds, so there’s no need to apologize for your need to take a breather. Doing so will enable you to have enough energy and the proper outlook to once again enjoy mingling.
Feature image by Rory McLeod via Flickr Creative Commons
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Charlene works for a popular greeting card company, hoping that what she writes makes some big, burly man somewhere cry. She's into MMA, and when she's not watching armbars on YouTube, she also writes for a tech blog or naps with her cat.