Survival Tips For Introverts Who Work Office Jobs

If you’re like me, you find yourself surrounded by people 8-9 hours a day five days a week. There are good days, sure, but trying to come down from a bad day at the office can ruin your whole night. Sometimes I feel really social or I’m in such a good mood that I don’t mind having a conversation every time I walk into the hallway or one of my coworkers has a question. Other days I have such low energy that being asked even a simple question at the wrong time makes me want to bang my head against the computer screen or just run off to the bathroom just to sit there because it’s the only place to be alone. I hope these tips for introverts help others like me survive the worst part of 9-5: talking to people all day.


Have A Ritual

I make myself a cup of tea every morning and every afternoon, usually at the same time each day. As soon as I open my email and make sure there’s nothing urgent, I grab my mug and slip off. The time it takes me to rinse my mug, get hot water and wait for the tea to steep is a sacred five minutes in which I look busy enough not to be bothered. Thankfully most people leave me alone when I’m making tea. This ritual also helps because it takes about a half hour to drink a cup of tea. This lets you take plenty of pauses where you can stop working for a second and just enjoy a sip of tea.


Use Headphones Strategically

This is pretty obvious, and I’m sure all introverts use headphones at work if given the option. Having headphones in makes people less likely to interrupt you. Sometimes I don’t even have music playing. Yes, I know that’s rude. When I know I don’t have the energy, I make every effort to appear closed off. I know it doesn’t come off this way, but I try to do this for the benefit of people around me, not for myself. I know when I’m in a bad mood. And when I’m in a bad mood, it shows and people’s feelings probably get hurt. I feel like it’s better to just send the signal that I’m not in the mood for talking to avoid the situation altogether.


Take Full Advantage Of Breaks

Whether you get two short breaks, an hour for lunch or any other combination, I think one of the best tips for introverts is to use breaks to their fullest potential. If you have time to go somewhere on your lunch break, pop in the headphones and take a walk. Or go to the library and hang out because everyone at the library knows to leave everyone else alone. Hopefully. Definitely don’t take your lunch break sitting at your desk if you have other options. This just sends the signal that you’re available to talk.


Be Nice Anyway

Unfortunately, wearing headphones all day, ignoring people and running away to be by yourself at every chance you get can make you seem standoffish. All introverts know that’s not what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s just the unintended and somewhat unavoidable consequence. Although you may want to, definitely don’t shun every interaction people try to have with you. You’ll never survive the workplace that way. People want to make their workplace fun and enjoyable. For most people that means being social. Because most people also don’t understand that there could be people out there who don’t want to talk at any given chance, it often falls to introverts to be the understanding ones. We’re used to that, right?


Give People A Chance

I can count the number of close friends I’ve made in adulthood on one hand. Like most introverts, I carry around a lot of doubt that I’ll ever meet other people who get me. That belief keeps me kind of closed off. However, I’m also surprised how often I’m wrong in believing that there aren’t other people like me. I met one of my best friends at work and we have so much in common that it’s crazy. It scares me to think that, had I been more closed off, we might not ever have become friends.


More Survival Tips For Introverts

Although it may not be in the cards at the moment, changing careers is always an option too. I work at a pretty social office, but every company has its own culture and you never know if a different one will be better. If you’re so done with offices that you never want to work in one again, you could always take the leap and start a career where you can work from home. There are so many reasons working from home might be perfect for you, even if you’re terrified to try.

Anyway, these are just a few of the things that work for me, and I’m sure there are so many other great ways to make it through the day as an introvert. Let us know what works for you in the comments!


Robin Pletzer

Robin lives in Hopkins, MN and works at a local nonprofit. She has a BS in English from UW-River Falls where she met her husband in a creative writing class. In her spare time, she can be found exploring state parks, drawing up blueprints for her dream teardrop camper, writing, and knitting (follow her projects on Instagram @knitwander).