There’s nothing worse than sitting in a weekly staff meeting and hearing the most dreadful words an introvert can ever hear, “It’s icebreaker time!.” Let the shaky hands, cold sweats and possible eye rolls begin. To an introvert, an employer making an announcement about impending “icebreakers” is just as bad as someone kidnapping them against their will. For those who have not been subjected to an absolutely horrific “icebreaker”, let me drop some knowledge on ya about icebreakers. Icebreakers are bonding activities that employers use to create unity and build relationships among employers, coworkers and staff at a job. Yes, it is as nerve wrecking as it sounds.
Other deathly things that introverts encounter at work are daily interactions, pressure to mingle with co-workers at company parties and of course your natural “bitch face” always being mistaken for a constant attitude (I promise, introverts are not mean. It’s just our normal faces often get misconstrued for a “My cat just died and I hate the world” attitude).
Here’s how you can make it through exhausting social icebreakers at work without coming off as a negative Nancy:
If that means that you have to parade around your house singing “Who runs the world!?” in your best Beyonce voice before you clock into work, by all means, do it! As a true introvert at heart, I know the importance of giving yourself a personal pep talk before going any sort of place where extensive amounts of socialization is required. So look yourself in the mirror and say, “I got this because I’m freaking awesome!”
Remind yourself about all of the amazing things you bring to the table. You don’t have to be outrageously talkative to be an entertaining person that people want to be around at work. Some perks of being an introvert are independence and the ability to maintain long lasting relationships. Zero in on the things that make you unique. Are you able to listen to peoples’ endless stories without wanting to pull your hair out? Great! That means you already have a unique talent that should be celebrated. Finding someone who will really listen to the words of others is something that is hard to find. Be yourself and be the person who listens to people and makes them feel special. I promise you, you’ll see a lot of good karma come your way for caring about how people feel.
I happen to be one of those weird people who likes to reward myself for just about everything from making it through the day successfully without crying hysterically to actually drinking water instead of gallons of French vanilla coffee. So reward yourself for the little things that you do no matter how small. Did you make it through a group project at work without feeling like you were being tortured James Bond style? Well, feel good about it because every little step is a helpful step towards breaking out of your shell as an introvert at work. Now crack open that pint of Ben and Jerry’s, watch some Netflix and enjoy because you earned it. Rewarding yourself along the way for your progress will help put things into perspective as a reminder that being an introvert isn’t a death sentence.
As an introvert, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t like big crowds and lengthy conversations about things that (let’s be honest) seem unimportant to you. But no worries, you are not alone! There are plenty of people in this world who would rather have meaningful conversations with close friends instead of big crowds and who would rather fall face first into a giant ant pile than to participate in icebreakers at work. Even some famous people are introverts! Famous introverts include Jennifer Lawrence, Zooey Deschanel and Clint Eastwood. I bet you feel a lot better knowing a bad ass like Clint Eastwood is an introvert. You’re welcome. So embrace your quirky spirit and know that you are special for your incredible awesomeness and never let anyone make you feel that you have to be someone that you’re not.
Photo Credit: Omar Gurnah