Question submitted via Formspring:
“I am perceived at work as being quiet and unassuming and unresponsive to the social interactions of others in the workplace. What should I about this when there is work to be done?”
The simple answer is: loosen up a bit! For the more complete answer, let’s break this one into pieces:
First, you say you are ‘perceived’ as being quiet, unassuming, and unresponsive, which means you don’t see yourself like that. Second, you mention ‘social interactions’, which helps give your entire question a rather…robotic vibe. Even still, you didn’t ask what to do about being unresponsive, or how to connect with your fellow human beings, you asked what to do about it so you can get back to work.
Now to be clear, some people are just private; and you may be one of those people. However, some people are shy to the point of insecurity and have difficulty letting their walls down out of fear that other people will get to close and hurt them. Unfortunately, the insecure people are the first ones to say they are just ‘private’. You also may just be an auditory digital personality type, which means emotions don’t come to you very easily, and it’s easy to get stuck inside your own head.
So, how can you know which one you are? First, like always, look back to your childhood. When you think about your earliest relationships, do they make you happy or sad? Do you remember having wonderful, loving connections with people…or being neglected, rejected, and disappointed? And as always, what was your relationship with your parents like, and what was their relationship with each other like? We talked very recently about how to break this cycle, so if this sounds like you that article is a good place to start.
For now, there is something very important that you need to remember: business is a team sport. You can be the absolute best worker in the world, but if you are no fun to be around they’ll replace you with someone who is. Even as you work to resolve some of the issues from the past that have held you back, it doesn’t mean that you’ll instantly become the life of the party, and that’s ok. If you hear people around you joking, even if you don’t want to get involved just look up and smile. Or, if you hear them mention a movie, or TV show, or book you like, say so. Or, if work is truly all you care about, anytime you see someone do a good job on something, tell them.
If you want to know the secret to getting people to like you, here it is: always be the person who makes people feel better about them. You may not become talkative, or a big joker; but the more you can do to show your appreciate for the people around you, the more they’ll appreciate you back.
You are great, and I love you!
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B. Dave Walters Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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