How to Understand an Introvert in the Workplace

I have been “blessed” with an introverted personality. While I thought ordinary situations were over-stimulating to me, moving to Memphis was a whole new experience that brought out all of my introverted qualities to an extreme. From a new city to a new workplace to all new co-workers, let’s just say that inwardly, I was a mess.

Outward communication is something I have struggled with, whether in person or over the phone, since I was a child. While many people are completely comfortable walking into a new workplace with confidence and zest, I walked into Obsidian with a million thoughts, mild anxiety and (I’ll admit) sweaty palms. While I was confident in my abilities to perform the job functions, the thought of communicating with people I didn’t know literally made me nauseous, and in new situations, still does.

While I have adapted to my work climate and co-workers, there are still many times at work that my introverted personality shines through. For example, the simple question of “how was your weekend” can make my mind spin, my hands fidget and my eyes immediately fly to the ground. And team events still take preparation the night before to be ready for the amount of stimulation that I will receive the next day.

Do you have a co-worker like this? Truth is… you probably do, and every introvert has these same struggles in varying degrees. Here are some tips and tricks for dealing with the most introverted co-workers during the workday:

Showing introverted co-workers that you understand how they need to acclimate and respond to situations is a key way to building their trust. Learning how to respond to them is important and will lead to increased comfort and conversation.