We understand that not all introverted people are shy types, and not all shy types are introverts. But if you clicked on this link because you’re one of those awkward, socially unskilled creatures who can’t stand staring into someone’s eyes for more than five seconds, you’re in the right place.
It’s an experience almost everyone in the working world can relate to: being introduced to new peers, new bosses, having to adjust to a new environment and being invited to welcome lunches. But for introverts who are inside their heads most of the time, things may become a little more challenging.
We’ve asked some of our introverted friends how it felt when they were just starting out in their professional careers. While everyone has provided us with different experiences and insights, we’ve found some similarities in how they handled the heat.
The mere thought of stepping into your new office can almost send you backing away and just being a monk in the Himalayas. You want your every word and movement to be impeccable– no room for mistakes otherwise you would overthink it for the next days to come.
You wanna make a good first impression. You think that’s how it works: be likable so they’ll like me. Don’t stutter because they’ll think I’m not fit for the job. Before you entered your new office, you had things planned out inside your head. But once you’re there, forcefully returning the welcoming smile of your new colleagues, your brain enters a blank state. You don’t know what to do.
The thing is, they don’t really care. At least, not as much you think. Not to the point of judging you by how many times you blink in a minute. That’s really far from reality. They have their own shit going on. When they smile at you, they’re being friendly. They’re not amused by how you speak.
Just be yourself. They will understand if you stutter. They won’t label you as a loser. In case they do, it’s probably because you ate your laptop.
Take time to loosen up
If you want it the fast way, socialize as much as you can, with all the social battery in you. You know what they say about throwing yourself into the pool so you’ll learn how to swim? Try that route. But if it seems too much for you, just relax. Feel the new breath of air. Take in the vibes of your workplace for a while.
When you’ve gathered up some amount of courage, engage in a one-on-one talk with someone. Sometimes you just need to break the ice. Talk about general topics. Ask them about their roles, but don’t pressure yourself into being a smarty-pants about it. When they ask you how you’re doing, tell them what only needs to be said. I’m good. I’m feeling slightly nervous but I can manage. If it turns out you could not contain the urge to overshare that you accidentally brought up your dog who swallowed your TV remote 3 months ago, well, it’s okay. Forgive yourself and move on. They won’t hate you. They will only feel bad for the dog.
Take precautionary measures. Research about the company. Stalk the team on Facebook. Practice how you’re gonna introduce yourself. Just so you won’t feel totally lost once you’re in the game.
Again, they don’t care
You’re gonna find ways to convince yourself that they don’t like you already. I mean, it’s been a couple of hours since Jenny The Accountant acknowledged my presence so it means we’re not on good terms anymore.
It’s a tough life we have, but let’s not make it harder by imposing impossible standards upon ourselves. Let’s just do what we gotta do. If you’re naturally weird, embrace it. Be comfortable in your own skin. You’re in your position because you deserved it, and you’re just as valuable as anyone in your new workplace.