Introverts and Holiday Parties – Don’t Notice Me

To say someone is an introvert puts a certain set of ideas in your head. Depending on how much you know about personality traits, much of what you are thinking could be wrong.

Like any other label we put on people, it represents a fraction of who they are, and the meaning is not universal. Like any label, it triggers a bias in how individuals perceive that person. Bias is not necessarily bad or good, it’s just a lens.

So I chose to put the label on the blog, in part to make a point that HR is a broad field and includes many different types of people. Including people like me, who are introverted.

I like the holidays like so many others do. It’s a time of family, of sharing, of recognizing what we have, of seeing the good in people, and a time of being grateful. But I get anxious at the thought of work-related holiday parties. I feel obligated to participate, lest I fulfill the bias that I am an unfriendly, selfish kind of co-worker. And I can’t wait for the event to be over.

You may work with someone like me, and you may wonder what’s going on in there. Basically, we just want to blend in. I have a few suggestions for you to help you understand.

  1. If you are a team leaders who insists that the team that plays together works well together, recognize that while the outcome is desirable, the method may be uncomfortable for some.
  2. If I turn down the invitation, please don’t put on the pressure of authority. Feel free to ask me why or if I could go on a different date, but don’t start implying that I’m not a team player if I don’t attend.
  3. If I come, don’t make a big deal of it along the lines of “Well, look who decided to join us!” I’m here, just appreciate it, don’t draw attention to it.
  4. If you want to know more about me, don’t ask “yes” or “no” questions, because that’s how I’ll answer them. If you ask me “Do you watch TV much?”, I’ll likely say “Some”. But if you ask me what my favorite television programming is, I am more likely to engage with you and provide more specifics about my interest in programs like “The Amazing Race” or “20/20”.

These same tips can apply to our day to day working as well. I may not be as emotive as many people, but that doesn’t mean I’m not passionate about my work. I’m an engaged employee, really I am.

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