Gransnet forums


Hate being the only introvert in workplaces

(49 Posts)
Shangela123 Sat 22-May-21 08:34:11

The last couple of jobs I've had I have been the only shy/quiet person among a group of people who describe themselves as loud or "mad".

I certainly don't ignore my colleagues, I am friendly and polite but I just want to get on with my job and enjoy some downtime on my breaks.
In my last role, I was part of a team of 8 ladies who were all kind and friendly, but they all had very big personalities. We were all in one big room together all day (supported living job) and we weren't allowed to leave the house or have allocated break times. I found it so draining having to spend every minute with them and the constant conversation all day long, and it was largely why I left.
New place is the same, just that there are only 2 others on shift and I'm a bit of a 3rd wheel.
Again, can't leave the facility at any time, they want to talk constantly and have their cigarette break together.
I sit with them sometimes but we work through the night and I'm just tired. They made a comment earlier about how I was always 'off somewhere else'. They have tried to be friendly and chatty and I do appreciate it, but they don't seem to need even a minute to themselves to just read or think.
I can't change who I am, we don't ask talkative outgoing people to change so not sure why quiet people are always expected to, it's just s different personality, not a deficit.
Does anyone else feel like this at work or elsewhere?

FannyCornforth Sat 22-May-21 09:01:35

Yes. Definitely. Introverts are drained by being in company and need time alone to recharge.
Have you thought about doing a different job? What do you think would suit you?

Galaxy Sat 22-May-21 09:05:22

Also lots of jobs at the moment are changing in ways that may benefit you, the majority of my work is direct work with people which I love because it has a purpose, the admin side of my job no longer requires going into the office, so I dont, it's so liberating. Have a look around for something that more suits your skills.

shysal Sat 22-May-21 09:06:16

I feel for you not being allowed to take a break away from your colleagues. I used to have a similar problem but was at least able to sit in my car or go for a walk on my breaks. Some outgoing people just can't understand introverts. I was once accused of being a 'nobody' because of my quietness, which was very hurtful.
Towards the end of my career I worked in a room where chatting was not allowed - it was bliss!

Shangela123 Sat 22-May-21 09:10:33

It's very draining. The whole shift is on our feet, talking to people and sometimes I just want to sit for 5 minutes and not have to speak. But if I don't sit with them I get asked where I'm going.
One irritating moment was when we were dealing with something quite distressing and a colleague asked if I was crying as my eyes were red. I wasn't crying, though I admit it was a distressing situation, my eyes were just a little bloodshot and tired and I told her I was fine.
She was trying to be nice and thanked her again but told her again I was fine and not upset.
Anyway later on I overheard her telling another colleague that I had been 'crying' at this situation FFS, even though I'd told her a couple of times I hadn't been.
Then saying she was scared I would be distressed at this situation again on the next shift. It was a colleague who's not even on shifts with us and has nothing to do with this situation, just seemed like she was telling her for the sake of gossip and drama.

Shangela123 Sat 22-May-21 09:13:55

Thanks for all the replies. I've always worked in care , support work , teaching and SEN, and I'm fine with the children/residents etc. I just wish there were a greater mix of personalities within the workplace and not just loud and extroverted only.
We don't get allocated fixed breaks, just sit down when we can and there's always conversation going on.

EllanVannin Sat 22-May-21 09:16:44

You can't change who you are and difficult as it is to work with those whose personalities are different it can be quite draining.
My youngest D and also my step-D aren't " people persons ", one is retired, one still working and the one who's still working has been in her job for years because she spends a lot of time alone in her little office, though obviously does come into contact with staff and the public.

I think she made it clear from the start that she always preferred to be by herself and didn't need or have to be part of a crowd so those who know her are used to this and just get on with their jobs and socialising and think nothing of it. I might add that she's got nobody " breathing down her neck " and gets on with her job.

There's nothing odd in wanting your own space nor does it mean that there's anything wrong with you. Both D's are happy in their own skin and don't need others as such. They just can't be bothered with people around them.

My other D in Oz is a different animal and loves her social life. That's fine too, a different personality.
Their dad was quiet and many would have said, anti-social, but he wasn't, it was the way he was.

I was the social one at work, but there were still one or two who preferred to keep their heads down and/ or eat alone which was fine by us as we knew and understood that everyone was different and didn't single them out in any way or give them a hard time.

Anyone who understands what you want or don't want should get used to the way you are and leave you to do your own thing ( if they've got the sense to realise this ) It's got nothing to do with being anti-social, it's the way you are and people should consider this.

I'm sure you're not on your own in being like this.

Galaxy Sat 22-May-21 09:22:25

Ellan you sound lovely to work with.
OP I have just seen your job type which is similar to my role, I think lots of people would think I am an extrovert when I am working with the children, but I am really not, I think it is a role where people often are in character almost.

Peasblossom Sat 22-May-21 09:32:03

I like my quiet spaces too. I once spent ten minutes in a windowless toilet, painted grey and used as the bucket storage place-and thought how lovely it was to be there?

Extroverts can’t empathise. It’s they’re nightmare to be left out of the conversation. They think you’re suffering by being alone and quiet.

They must step outside for their cigarette breaks. Can you take five minutes outside to breath when they’re not there?

Alexa Sat 22-May-21 09:40:45

I am the same Shangela. Thank you for so well describing the situation.

FannyCornforth Sat 22-May-21 09:52:53

I'm the same as you Galaxy
Teaching is doubly draining as you have the kids, and the staff (who are often very extroverted), and then you've also got the parents.
I couldn't manage a social life with all of that going on - work was my social life.
I'd spend the evenings and weekends in silence!

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 22-May-21 10:00:23

I was the same shangela it was very tiring, it was also unfair as I was the one doing most of the work whilst the others had their cigarette breaks en mass and tea breaks, at least I was given a brief respite as they all trooped out,
But I left, partly due to the fact that as I got more work done I was asked most days to help the others out as they were ‘swamped’.

AcornFairy Sat 22-May-21 11:16:30

Just wanted to say how refreshing it is to see this thread. We all have different personality traits and, as long as we are not causing harm to others, it's important to be true to ourselves. That may take courage, but bear in mind that all too often we are our own worst enemies, misreading - in a negative way - how we think others perceive us.

SueSocks Sat 22-May-21 12:21:05

Me too. Loved teaching and the students, but the general staff - not much really. My own department were great, quite a few like me and the more extrovert ones understood us quiet ones & gave us our space. I rarely went into the staffroom to sit and socialise preferred to spend breaks in my own classroom pottering around in the silence! I used to pop home at lunchtimes to spend half an hour with my dog, I know I was very lucky to be able to do this. Shangela I don't know how you cope.

nanna8 Sat 22-May-21 13:21:19

I tend to be more extrovert than introvert but there are times when I just don’t want to be around anyone, particularly if I am concentrating on some work. I was an only child and got used to my own company and sometimes that’s just what I want. Guess most of us are somewhere in the middle of the scale . Have to say I love parties and being part of a crowd though. My close friend is a total introvert but we respect each other.

JdotJ Mon 24-May-21 10:46:32

It's draining isn't it. I'm an introvert and when DH and I go out with a particular couple who we've known for years and are a lovely couple, I always come home feeling rather ill, headache, tired, want to sit quietly.
All because the woman does not shut up -,literally. She talks non stop, talks over me, asks me questions about things I have already spoken about not 2 mins previously. I could scream. If the 4 of us have a meal out, she is always the last to finish (by a long way) as she's not stopped talking long enough to eat. She lives on her nerves, is stick thin and worries about anything and everything.
I'd much rather be the introvert me than the 'extrovert' her.

Irismarle Mon 24-May-21 11:05:05

For fellow introverts I recommend reading the book ‘Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking ’ by Susan Cain. The author shows how introverts tend to be undervalued and it is very reassuring. Very well written also.

jaylucy Mon 24-May-21 11:22:22

I was fine in my last job - 3 in the office until a 4th was brought in while I was off sick for several weeks, and stayed (she had caused problems elsewhere in the business and we were the last place for her.
She was a smoker and not only did we have to put up with her breaks and fill in for her while she was out of the office, but the stink of smoke when she came back in- she then decided to spray herself with perfume while actually in the office!!!
She was constantly trying to persuade me to go out with her and her partner Friday or Saturday nights. I was the only one that worked on a Saturday - getting up at 5.30 to get to work each day so that wasn't an option for me, having a late night and besides , I'd done the sitting in pubs thing years before.
My refusal to socialise then lead on to constant criticism - but only when there were just the two of us in the office, I was praised to the heavens when the other two were there and one that actually did socialise with her reckoned that the new woman (nominally the manager) had protected our jobs when the bosses wanted redundancies.
I accepted the redundancy offered despite the disciplinaries I was put through that really broke all employment rules - the minutes of each meeting were subtly changed so I was in the wrong. I left a job I loved completely broken.
If you don't want to sit chatting with workmates, going out partying etc, just don't! I really don't see why you should have to explain why that is? Just explain that you need a quiet break, nothing to do with them, just that you prefer a few minutes on your own to refresh yourself.

SooozedaFlooze Mon 24-May-21 11:25:56

Tell them you're tired and sitting away to have a nap, even if you aren't they will get the message

SueLindsey Mon 24-May-21 11:29:29

Oh how glad I am to be retired! Yes i can so much understand how you feel. Extroverts NEVER seem to "get" what its like to be an introvert and often "take it personally" and think you are being snobbish. I can still remember overhearing colleagues talking about me "she's a strange one her, always got her head in a book". Much sympathy.

GagaJo Mon 24-May-21 11:30:58

I have found people are more tolerant of my anti-social attitude now I'm older. I use my age as an excuse. I guess that wouldn't help if you work with all older people, but since I'm the oldest, they buy it!

I can't bear being surrounded by noise and chatter for too long.

Janey1996 Mon 24-May-21 11:39:59

Shangela123 I so totally identify with you! I get exhausted after a couple of hours in company chatting and can find it very stressful, I then need to spend an hour or two on my own to recover - it's taken me years to accept in my own mind that I am not abnormal! society would have us introverts think we are being antisocial/not team players as the majority seem to fall into the outgoing/life of the party type - this is not true, but we are a minority group and should be respected as such. Thankfully my husband understands and tries to keep family/social meetings to a minimum and if they can't enables me to find some space or simply go home! Any finger pointing/negative comments should be treated as workplace discrimination and dealt with accordingly.

LaGoulue Mon 24-May-21 11:45:06

I worked in the admin office on a Mental Heath ward as a secretary, alongside 4 admin assistants, trying to transcribe audio tapes dictated by doctors with accents difficult to u derstand, with everyone else chatting, constant interruptions, and the office ‘leader’ was diagnosed with cancer, so I had to listen to her about her treatment she was receiving in the same general hospital. She would say to me when I was trying to get on with my work, “oh leave that” so that I could attend the treatment with her. I was screaming inside, but no one wanted to know. We were packed into a small office, with a fax going off all day, what made it so maddening we couldn’t open the windows because our patients would overhear conversations, whilst they were in the outside garden smoking, and it was boiling in the rabbit-hutch of an office. Laughably, when a new doctor from the Middle East started his training he commented “how do you stand the heat in here”! Next door to our office was a huge lounge for female MH patients which was never used, and I asked, couldn’t we move in there to work? Management, didn’t want to know, the attitude was, ‘don’t like it, find another job’. In the end I left - in hindsight I wished I had gone off sick but I was always brought up stick to it, but I thought if I don’t get out now, I’ll end up on this ward as a MH patient!

Nanananana1 Mon 24-May-21 11:46:14

I must be a chameleon. I can sway from introvert to extrovert when ever the mood takes me or the situation calls for it. At work I was outgoing and lively and if I had a quiet moment people just couldn't cope with it. They thought I was ill or angry about something

I once went to a workshop for counselling services where the group leader pointed out that sometimes introverts are 'letting others do all the work', taking risks, putting themselves out there. Needless to say the introverts in the group had nothing to say on the subject!

I have enjoyed the downtime during lockdown where I can spend hours, days weeks even not speaking to anyone, not mingling or being very communicative and I don't relish all the 'partying' that everyone seems to be planning in the months ahead

Luckily all the people I enjoy being with are more laid back, quieter and don't make a loud fuss, so seeing them will be a pleasure

We all need to respect our own way of being as well as the needs of others who need recognition, bonding, closeness and excitement to make them feel energised and able to cope with situations. Introverts just need time to think, separation and stillness to be able to manage the next step

inishowen Mon 24-May-21 12:14:44

I'm drained by constant chatter. I worked in places where I got peace to eat my lunch alone in the office. However one place had everyone come into the office to eat with me. I left that job after three days. I couldn't stand the constant company. Introverts are just as valid as extroverts although the latter have an easier life.