As an introvert, I don’t feel I am at a disadvantage most times. I have grown to love my introversion and do not view it as a hindrance, but when you are in a situation where you are you must work with mostly extroverts those advantages don’t seem to put you in a favorable position.
Working with extroverts, especially those who try to for you out of your introversion can be difficult. Most of the work activities are stirred toward forced social interaction, team-building, and all things that they may enjoy, but we find uncomfortable and tiring. It can be challenging to be an introvert in those situations. I have found some ways to cope with them. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. When they do, it is a win-win for all involved. Below are some of the tips I have used in the past.
Offer to do the planning and the setup.
I love to plan. Planning an event is never a problem for me. It’s attending the event that sparks my anxiety. That anxiety is exacerbated by the idea that everyone will thing I am antisocial or unwilling to participate because my energy will drain and I will begin to power down in the middle of the event. If I become heavily involved in the planning, I can still participate in my own way and often alone. I can also busy myself with the setup and thus avoid any sustained interaction.
Find another introvert
I call this the magnet method. The introvert is easy to spot. Search all corners of the room and that is where you will find us. Generally introverts who understand each other are content with congregating together and not socializing.
Excuse yourself ahead of time
If you are not on company time, it is perfectly fine to have other plans they will cut into the event. When you feel your energy start to drain, leave. It works well to have something planned ahead of time so everyone can be prepared for your departure.
As I mentioned, these tips don’t always work for every situation, but they can ease some of the introvert’s anxiety. The main thing is not to feel guilty for using these or any other coping strategies. We are who we are and we cannot help that.