Every office has one. The team member or coworker that never wants to go to lunch with the others, who rarely engages in small talk or anything other semblance of communication if it doesn’t involve work, or never attends the after office happy hours or out of office events.
Are you the anti-social one at work?
I can say for years, I was this person. Not wanting to be the one that ended up getting drunk at the office holiday party, the one who would be talked about and ridiculed throughout the year, I maintained my solitude. I was cordial, not stand offish. But when it came to outside of the office, I wasn’t there to make friends. I was there to collect a paycheck.
Over time, I could see how this came across to people. It wasn’t that I was anti-social, but believed (and still believe) that there is a time for work and a time for play. I now know how to coordinate it better. Back then, it was either or.
So how does one keep their distance without looking like an office standalone?
I recently blogged HERE about keeping your social networking separate from those you work with. If you want to keep business from interrupting pleasure, do not mention your social networks or do not engage those you work with online. That is indeed a recipe for disaster.
If you are invited to lunch, don’t say no every time. Indulge your coworkers every once in a while so they feel they are getting to know you. You don’t have to be their best friend, of course, but the polite thing to do is, on occasion, accept an invitation.
Ask questions. Ask your coworkers how their families are or how their day is going. Small talk is better than nothing.
When it comes to after hours events, however, only attend if you are comfortable. After hours events are not on the clock, and you shouldn’t be judged for not attending. If you are, that is not good business.
Working with folk can be difficult, stressful, and plain boring, but it can also be fun. Be open to meeting new people and always communicate with your coworkers and be pleasant.