I am a kind of a reserved person who minds her own business at the office. I do not socialize much at the workplace and feel it awkward to talk about the daily soaps or interfere in one's personal life or for that matter even talk about the ongoing political affairs of the country or the world. I feel that these are out of our scope and we have no say in it at all. It is more of, something would happen irrespective of my opinion. So, I keep mum during those kind of discussions or avoid if possible. But, there are instances where I can speak about a topic I know for as long as enough. May be this kind of attitude makes people call me as a moody one.
It even happens that a lot of information gets passed around during these conversations and most of the times, I am the last person to know. This makes me feel aloof and I get sad sometimes.
At the same time, there were instances when people spoke to me only because there was no one else to speak to. I was more of a fallback person and that makes me more uncomfortable. And there were times, when people would take advantage of me, try to get work done from me and not talk later. Basically, I was being used. I was not able to differentiate between a casual talk, fallback talk and 'getting used by them' talk.
That is a hotchpotch of thoughts in my mind. I want to change this attitude and socialize more in the office. What I want to do is 'How do I effectively socialize with my co-workers' without interfering in each others' personal lives?
I have browsed through the site and found this question. Socializing with full timers. It did give me a few pointers. Since, mine is a more elaborate one, I need more help.
I have thought of a few options. But, I have doubts about it. Kindly advice me w.r.t these. Also, please add a few of your own ideas which you think might help me.
- Meeting at the water cooler or have lunch together. There are always groups in the project. How do I know which group I need to move around with?
- Tea/Coffee break I do not drink tea/coffee and having such break seems odd to me. But, I am willing to forgo that and hang around.
- Cracking jokes now and then seems to be a good option but I have no idea when/what to crack one/about. How do I ensure that I don't come across as a silly woman?
- I do not socialize much during weekends and hence the week starting discusssions are really awkward to me when people ask me how I had spent my weekend. My answer is a simple one sentence and people get disinterested very soon.
- There are times, when co-workers of one group indulge in open blasphemy or various kinds of 'isms'. This is one topic that binds a group together and I am not comfortable with any kind of 'isms' let alone talk about it. Or for that matter, it could be a love/hate towards a person or a group that binds them together. Though I do not share my thoughts with them, I am not comfortable being in that group, and I end up being alone, again. I have no idea if such discussions can be dodged and if yes, how? These co-workers could be my superiors whom I report to directly or could be any random colleague. I do not want to end up being Yes (wo)man.
This might come across as a too broad question for IPS. But, my question is 'How do I effectively socialize with my co-workers'. The other sub questions are the ways for that question but do not divert from the main one. Kindly do not vote down or close it. I am ready to rephrase it to get the right set of answers.