If clichés and stereotypes are to be believed, then all IT professionals are “introverted nerds”.
To fully understand what this is about, we should define what an introvert really is. According to Vocabulary.com “an introvert generally prefers solitary activities to interacting with large groups of people. If you would rather work through your feelings in your diary than have a conversation, then you are an introvert.” If this is something you can identify with, then these tips might be beneficial for you.
Just say hello
For many people this is the hardest part. It can be frightening, but it’s the most efficient trick to start a conversation. Once you have done this, you have initiated the process of friendship and it will be easier and easier to talk to this person as time goes by. And the first convo does not have to last forever. Pro tip; prepare a range of “get outs” (I need to get back to work, I need to go to the bathroom, I need a refill, etc.) if you feel an awkward silence coming.
Show up to work events
Introverts tend to get drained in social situations, especially those involving big crowds. We know you’d rather be home alone in front of your computer, but sorry, making an effort and showing up for work stuff is a critical part of bonding with your colleagues. But luckily, because of the joint experiences you get from this, the everyday chitchat becomes less painfully awkward after each event.
Show an interest
By this I mean that showing an interest in the people you approach and ask about their lives is always a winner. People love talking about themselves and therefore they’ll find your convos highly interesting. Hopefully, they’ll ask you questions in return and maybe you’ll end up finding things in common. Bippity-boppity-boo… you got a new friend!
Add people on social media
When you have elegantly conversed with you colleagues a few times (3 casuals, or 1 involving personal sharing) you can now add them on facebook etc. After you’ve done this, you’re only a message away from doing something social outside of work as well. Which again will help you feel more comfortable at work. Pro tip; stalking people on social media is also a great way to find conversation starters.
Confidence is not necessarily key
You don’t have to be the loudest or funniest if that’s not your personality. Just be you. As long as you’re smiling and being approachable in your body language, you’ll be OK.
Let go of your fear of rejection
It’s of course easier said than done. Fear of rejection is human nature and everyone has it. So say to yourself: “You are a great person and everyone is lucky to talk to you”. Yes, it is a bit narcissistic, but it helps. Realize that you have something to offer and remember that you’re probably both equally scared. Also, you both share the responsibility of moving the conversation forward. Awkward silences is just as much your potential new friend’s fault as yours.
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