How to be more of an extrovert at work?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Misskitty, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. Misskitty, Jun 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014

    Misskitty macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    This has always bothered me and ive never been able to figure out how to turn myself into an extrovert in the workplace.

    Socially, Im a bit odd at times some say. I dont like big crowds, they make me uncomfortable and i feel the most relaxed when alone. Its wierd because im a very outgoing person, very chatty and love to learn about others. Some times i can talk too much. But i dont have the best self confidence and i go through on and off depression.

    Ive gotten professional help for it in the past many times, and ive even attended self help groups with others going through the same thing. its help immensly but to this day i still suffer from chronic depression. So one day i can be super happy and an extrovert, ill say hi to people at work and ask how people are doing. The next day i could be down and in a shell socially and not say hi to everyone. Unfortunately, I have my days where i just come into work and dont want to be bothered by anyone. I just want to do my work, get it done and go home.

    Theres more to it than this and if i dig deeper, me having no social life and only 1 friend in real life (all my friends are online gamer friends who ive never met) definitely has a part to do with it. I dont go out on weekends, i stay in and the only time i go out is when i run errands. I guess you could label me as a loner.

    So aside from work, i dont get human interaction. Ive joined hobby groups, groups etc and even though i havent made any friends from it yet...95 out of 100 times i say that im going to attend a meetup or event, i back out and dont go and just stay home and play video games or something.

    Well, i know my coworkers and especially my boss has picked up on it and can tell. Im sure they wonder how i can be so social one day and then the complete opposite the next. Now i dont know what they think of it, but im sure it cant be seen as a good thing.

    For instance, i know my former boss at my former job hated this about me. They always wanted (and tried constantly by pulling me aside and lecturing me) to be more extroverted. Like even on my good days, ill say hi to people and ask how they are, but thats it. I wont ask how their night was, or how their weekend was, or what they have planned for the upcoming weekend. Id just say hi or good morning and ask how they are. I would always get asked more extensive questions like how my weekend was, what did i do etc.

    Is anyone else like me? Id love to hesr your story. I dont know how to make myself more extroverted at work, but ive always felt (and still do) that people will look down on me as a person until i do change.
  2. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Learn to be comfortable with who you are and stop worrying so much about what you think others might think about you.

    Being an introvert isn't a bug, it's a feature. Learn to use your introvert characteristics to your advantage. Google things like "advantages of introversion" and pick a few pages to read, like this one which offers some workplace related advice.

    Rather than trying to be the life of the party take the opportunity to learn about others in small groups or in one on one situations. Be you an extrovert or introvert, your true friends will number only a few.

    Introversion isn't a personality defect. It's not a bad habit, like nail bitting. Introverts are a minority compared to extroverts, but that doesn't mean its something begging to be "cured". ;)
  3. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    keep up with sports
    go out to lunch with people
    talk to people about things
  4. twietee macrumors 603


    Jan 24, 2012
    How do you know that? :confused:

    Do you have a link/article about that, would really interest me because I really couldn't tell. It's mostly that the introverted obviously aren't anywhere as vocal as the extroverts.
  5. briannaharbor macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    You said in the question that you DONT ask how people's weekends are, etc. which says to me that you know the answer. Just know that every single person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Pretend you care, and remember things they tell you. It's caring and compassion that people admire in a friendship, and if you seem to care about someone's life or their hardships, they will like you in turn. Don't shy away from conversation, but don't TRY to make it happen.

    I just say, pretend that everyone is like you; wanting a friend. I know that we are all most comfortable when we are alone, but some people go out of their way to make friends, and I assure you, they are no better or worse than you are. Just be kind, and remember that everyone wants friends, and to be a good friend, you just have to listen, and care. :)
  6. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV

    OP, guess what? Most people probably feel as socially ackward as you, so when you're afraid of saying or doing something that you think will make others look at you like you're stupid, they're probably thinking the same thing, so just go ahead and do it.

    I was at one point shy and didn't like being in crowds and around other people and then about the time I start college for the first time, I figured that was a stupid attitude to have and I shouldn't really care what other people think (within reason of course, telling your boss he's a dick head when you don't have that type of rapport may be detrimental to your employment status) and just go about my day however I please. At thing point in my life, I don't let things get to me and it's allowed me to meet people and make some great friends that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to get to know.
  7. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    Unless your job requires you to be outgoing with your co-workers or it's making you unhappy, I would not worry about it.
  8. jacobclause macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    I think that it is important first and foremost to be self-confident. If you think that you need more friends to feel more confident, then you need to pay attention to the points that you've made in the original post. I think that you know the answer to your question already.

    Just know that everyone wants to have friends, and there is nothing bad that can happen to you from trying to just make conversation with co-workers. I used to be shy, and the best advice is to just be happy and talk when you feel like it. If you feel forced or uncomfortable, then just don't do it that day. :p
  9. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Studies I came across seem to vary -- anywhere from 25% to 50% is typically quoted as being the percentage of introverts. If you simply ask people what they are, I suspect many would claim they're extroverts largely because they think that's the "right" answer. You can google it for yourself and find a great many sources citing an answer, but you not likely find many well documented scientific sources.

    Does it really matter?

    In ways, I'd disagree that introverts are "less vocal". Many writers and researchers are introverts. They're thinkers, who observe and formulate ideas, which are often expressed in written form.
  10. caseycicada macrumors member

    May 27, 2014
    You just need to be comfortable with who you are. There is no need to please other people, and I find that faking a behavior is often worse than just being quiet. I wouldn't worry about it, you're fine :)
  11. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    Just based on what you have written, I'd suggest that you re-connect with whomever provided treatment in the past. If that's not possible, you might want to find someone new with whom you might get some help.

    Conversation here might be interesting, but contact with a professional might me more productive.
  12. caseycicada macrumors member

    May 27, 2014
    A good point. And MacRumors is a bit of a random place to ask this question, no?
  13. Nabooly macrumors 6502a


    Aug 28, 2007
    OP, sometime last year I found this amazing video on TED. This woman is amazing, imo.

  14. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    I believe the term fake it until you make it might apply here. Have you tried pretending you are an extrovert for a while? I know I'm intentionally more social than I would like to be at work.

    Edit: Got this from a Ted talk, might be the one referenced above and I can't tell since I'm on my phone, if so it I a good watch.

    The truth is that its a lot of extra work once you get started, especially if you aren't working with the same types of people.
  15. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.

    OP, ******* what others think about you. Be yourself. Being an extrovert does not make you normal or better.
  16. Misskitty, Jun 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014

    Misskitty thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    Thanks for all the input.

    No I dont fake anything. If Im having one of those days (and its alot) where I dont feel like being social and would rather be left alone, Im just not all that friendly. Now, if someone comes to me and says hi and chit chats Im obviously very friendly and polite back, but I dont go out of my way to make interaction with others unless I have to.

    I know I should, but ive just been lacking motivation lately. Im so burnt out everyday after work that I just want to go home and be by myself and relax. Same with weekends.

    And thats the thing. Some days Im very social and outgoing and chatty. The rest of the time, i just want to mind my own business, say only what i have to say to others and just go about my business to get the day over with. On these days I tend to be easily irritable and have a lot less patience than i normally would.

    Im sure some may think of me as a ***** on these days (not because im not very friendly), but because im not generally the person who initiates conversation. And this is where me having no social interaction outside of work for the past 5-6 years has really changed my social personality.

    Even when im out at the grocery store running errands, Im just very socially awkward. I often come across as a ***** to strangers.

    I do ask, just not often and if I do ask its for the sake of being nice and filling or extending conversation, not because I care. I know my former boss really took offense to this because I would always be asked "how was your weekend"..."what do you have planned for the weekend..." how was your night last night?". That job was just a bad fit for me as I was in an environment where i was constantly being harped on to be more social but I couldnt. It drove everyone in the office nuts.

    I can be very social but i need to open up to the person first. Im not the type who can just be completely open and free to strangers ive just met. Not because i dont want to but because im not the most comfortable. I have with some in the past but its rare. As time goes on and i get to know the person and be more comfortable with them, then i start to open up.
  17. jlsm511 macrumors 6502


    Feb 26, 2008
    Im the same socially, and its taken me a long time to open up both in private with friends and at work. Just try and find some common interests and talk about that and go from there. Don't over analyze stuff, that was my mistake. Just let it be and what happens happens.
  18. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Coming into this late, so if it's already been discussed, consider this a dupe!

    The issue that I see here isn't that you need to be something else you are not, but that you (you in general, meaning all of us) needs to understand your personality type, and how to relate to other people's personality type. Once you know that, things will be a lot easier.

    For that, I recommend having a read of Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself by Florence Littauer. Once you know what the four major personality types are, and figure out what makes up your type, you will be able to recognize those types in other people and how to relate to them. Then, you'll realize that nothing is really wrong with you, because your personality type makes up who you are. If anything, others also need to learn how to relate to you just as much as you need to relate to them.

    So have a read of the book, figure out your type, recognize what makes up the other types, and you'll realize how extroverted an introvert can be, simply by relating to what makes up an extrovert type.

    Like you, I'd be considered an introvert. Based on Littauer's book, I'm a Melancholy Phlegmatic. And I'm perfectly okay with that. Again, have a read of the book to see what those mean, because 'melancholy' does not mean what people think it means (read: sad/depressed/gloomy).

  19. Misskitty, Jun 14, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014

    Misskitty thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    Today my boss had a house warming BBQ at his house (over 80 staff attended including I). I personally would rather stay home but they asked and i said i would go (just cause it would look bad if all my co workers are there and not me). But deep down, i really wanted to stay home and be alone.

    I went and uhhh, I just felt uneasy with so many people I dont know. I was definitely not in a social mood today. I decided to go early in hoping to miss out on the rush of people (as most would go later and id leave by then). I was only planning on staying for a couple hours (which I stayed 2.5). Even at 2 hours, i felt bad for leaving so soon so I pushed it to 2.5 and made up some excuse saying that I have plans. Me staying for most of the night and socializing with everyone did definitely crossed my mind...on many occasions. I felt it would be a great oppurtunity to get out, be around people and take my mind off other things in my life. But I just couldnt do it. I wasnt in the mood at all to socialize today and unforuntately it showed.

    WHen I got there, there was only about 20 people there and i was welcomed and greeted by my boss with open arms and was introduced to my bosses parents and etc. I got there, and not long after i was around a bunch of strangers (uhhh) so I made some small talk with one a couple people just for the hell of it and so i dont look like a *****. Ended up walking around and sitting at a table with strangers. It felt awkward. I didnt initiate convo with anyone sitting at the table except the person closest to me and that was only because we chit chatted a few mins before. And i would purposely drag on our conversations into pointless jubber just so it didnt look like im a complete dolt sitting at a table full of people and not mingling with anyone.

    I felt bad honestly. Me sitting at the table full of people that I just met, only lasted about 10mins as I got up and drifted away on my own. I just dont like crowds.

    There was a TV in the garage with a few people there watching soccer (and even though I dont care for soccer), I forced myself to watch it and pretend as if i cared for it, so that i didnt have to mingle with all the people in the backyard (cause thats where 80% of people were). I felt bad, i know it didnt look good...seeing that my bosses (who invited me) are in the back chit chatting and wanting to introduce me to people, and here I am watching TV. I work with my bosses closely, i should be with them chit chatting with everyone and introducing myself to everyone. I let them down big time.

    Im sure my bosses think im a anti social dolt now. I still went to them and said thanks for having me over and the food and that they have a very nice place...and said bye. But i should have said bye to the people that i was introduced to as well (especially their parents as it leaves a very good impression). But instead i just darted as i was so wanting to go home.

    Its just pathetic how anti social i have become over the years. Of course, seeing the fact that i have absolutely no sense of humour doesnt help my case.
  20. b3av3r macrumors regular


    Dec 9, 2012
    I'm no expert and take any advice I may give with a large dose of salt. However, your post pretty well sums up most of the problem - you are trying to force yourself to do things you don't want to do because you are worried about the thoughts of others. You keep saying you did something just so people wouldn't think this or think that of you. You are always going to feel uncomfortable if you are doing things to please other people and upsetting yourself in the process. Go sit at a table of people and don't start a conversation with them, I assure you nothing terrible will happen. I do this all the time. I feel no compulsion to talk to strangers or even friends/family/etc. unless I have something to say.

    Also, you say it would look bad if you didn't attend your boss's BBQ. Would you lose your job? Would you miss out on a raise or a promotion or a perk? If not, then who cares if it would look bad you didn't show up? If you are going to lie and leave early why not lie and not go at all?

    I would worry more about pleasing yourself and less about attempting to fit the image you think you should fit. I think in the end you will be much happier with yourself and will make friends easier, if you want to make friends it is not a requirement in life to have tons of friends.
  21. rei101 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2011
    I am an introvert and a loner too and I am 39.

    I moved to the US 3 years ago and it hasn't being easy. I hate the culture, gringos are too idiotic and latinos are too ghetto. I was dating a girl 2 year ago, I felt in love with her and she was a hooker. She left me to get laid with the doorman of the club.

    So... back home I had my friends but here I have to start from scratch. I know how you feel.

    Now, the first thing I did recently was to delete my facebook account, huge waste of time. I suggest you to forget about video games, that is the huge waste of time in your life. You have no friends and you are ending up with social anxiety = lack of social skills. If you do not have social skills you end up a loser.

    Then... just learn how to make conversations, silly chit chat. Ask about what other people did during the weekend and be interested about it and tell them "I saw this movie" and recommend the movie or ask them how the movie they saw was. Or if they saw the World Cup ask them how it was, eventually you will learn something new. Now you have more topics to continue other conversations, but it just takes time.

    Today I was watching the world cup in my house, a friend told em to go for a beer and I said yes. I didn't want to go but I did, I met his friends who works in my same field and we exchange numbers and after all it was a productive night. Small steps.

    You better go out and search for "small steps" other wise when you met the girl of your dreams you would have nothing to offer, or worst... you may like a girl who will use you because she will fill your life and you will become so co dependent. Isolation makes you a vulnerable person, the weakest in society.

    You, you better move your but and learn some leadership. Take a training in Project Management, it will help.
  22. Misskitty thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    You are right, I have to do what im most comfortable with and not worry so much about what others think.

    Yes i would have been happier by not going to the BBQ last night. Im sure they wouldnt have been hurt if i didnt go. It was a waste of time IMO. I didnt really enjoy myself at all.


    Hey its good to hear some advice coming from another person in my shoes. Have to say that it sounds like you have made great progress. Theres nothing wrong with being a loner, Ive always been one my entire life. Never had a lot of friends even going back to jr high and high school. I was never the cool popular kid in class.

    I do have to say that leaving video games is quite a hard and daunting task since its one of my favourite hobbies to do. Today I got to play for a few hours and have to say that it felt soooo good just relaxing and playing video games. Wish I could have done this yesterday instead of going to the BBQ.
  23. briannaharbor macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    I know that my boyfriend and I have stayed in and played video games a lot over going to events with friends. It's more fun. There are probably people in your company that share your interests, though? Maybe talk about what you like, and someone who has the same hobbies might enjoy talking with you about it.
  24. jacobclause macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    How to be more of an extrovert--- just talk about what you are interested in. End of story.
  25. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    What age range are you in ?

    It sounds like the biggest issue you have is worrying what others think of you. What is most important is being yourself and accepting and liking who you are. You can't make everyone like you so just be yourself. If someone doesn't like you, it's their lose :D.

    I myself am a lot like you (except probably much older) and social situations are not nearly as bad when I was younger. When you don't worry about what the other person thinks of you, it's much easier to start up a conversation with someone you don't know.

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