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Why do people hate it when one's quiet at work?


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I have always been quiet and introverted. Soft-spoken, I always keep to myself and display a docile, laid-back attitude. I avoid chit-chat whenever possible and only care to talk about deep, meaningful subjects. I prefer working independently to dealing with a group of people; however, I enjoy maintaining one-to-one relationships with a select few.

 

No matter where I work, though, people always seem to take issue with my quietness. I focus on my work and refrain from meddling in other's business. It isn't like I don't say a word all day -- I talk to and am friendly with them. It's just that once I get cranking, I like to concentrate on my work. I work among salespeople, many of whom have an active part in office politics, and I just don't want any part of it. My job requires me to write a lot so that factors into all of this as well -- I can't craft a well-written article if I'm chatting up everyone around the office. Lately people have made such sarcastic remarks as the following: "Supernova, why are you so loud? I'm going to have to get headphones to drown out all the noise you're making over there."

 

But I'm not writing this because I am interested in changing my ways; I'm doing so because I am proud of the way I am and flat-out refuse to alter my personality for a bunch of people I may never see again should I leave the company in the near future.

 

I've read several posts on Enotalone about people who have faced similar situations in the workplace. Do you take pride in your introversion, or is it something you wish to change altogether?

 

Why can't people in the office just mind their own business and let introverts be?

Edited by supernova
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I think it is because virtually every office/company in america values teamwork as a desired attribute in an employee. You'll be hard pressed to find companies that advertise for "the lone ranger" in their want ads.

 

It is what it is. It is similar to someone saying, "you know, I just don't like being on time, but I don't mind working late to make up for it. Why doesn't the boss get off my back?" The same reason they don't care for the introvert....not being prompt is not an attribute most commonly sought after. This person who is a nightowl who can't get to work exactly at 8am might be one of the best contributors but his or her habitual lateness will likely never be smiled upon.

 

All that said I am not saying an introvert, or even the person who is habitually late who will work late is a "bad" employee. These are just not 'desired' traits in an employee in virtually any type of company or industry.

 

I doubt you will ever find a way to completely combat this issue. "Team work" is highly desired in the workplace ... even if the introvert is a great employee they will likely be overshadowed by those who love collaborating. Collaborating is a huge initiative for most employers.

 

When an employee possesses an attribute that isn't one of those traditionally sought after he or she will usually have to overcompensate and be one heck of a contributor to get away with it unscathed or else they will always be plagued by employers who frown upon whatever the shortcoming is in question.

 

Best thing I can suggest is go with the flow the best you can. Employees can tout all they want that they want to work for a company that allows them free reign on individuality but at the end of the day that employer signs your paycheck.

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Im the EXACT same. I get those same comments. Im quite. Its who i am. I get tired of people telling me 'you are really quiet'. I dont have the need or desire to chat all day. Im here to do a job.

 

I've been given good praise by bosses. One boss once mentioned something about he wishes all workers were like me - in the way of doing their job, correctly etc. Im polite and friendly to them all.

 

I find i feel like im left out tho. like im invisible. nothing i can do. its not like im gonna change and be really loud.

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All that said I am not saying an introvert, or even the person who is habitually late who will work late is a "bad" employee. These are just not 'desired' traits in an employee in virtually any type of company or industry..

 

 

How come?

 

Usually those who are introverted and quiet tend to work better as they dont have the distractions.

 

If going by that reasoning, people who are loud and outgoing can can be seen as traits that arn't desired. Will they do their work?

 

An employer doesn't want to have to keep reminding someone to do their work.

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How come?

 

Usually those who are introverted and quiet tend to work better as they dont have the distractions.

 

If going by that reasoning, people who are loud and outgoing can can be seen as traits that arn't desired. Will they do their work?

 

An employer doesn't want to have to keep reminding someone to do their work.

 

I don't write the rules. I am just saying that this is how most companies operate. Look at their want ads. They are always scouting out 'team players'. It's something they value. The introvert can do fabulous work but if a team player is in her or his vicinity doing equally good work but who loves to collorbate as a team, they will be the one walking away with the accolades.

 

I am not saying it is wrong or right. I am saying this is how it is in the workplace more often than not.

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I don't write the rules. I am just saying that this is how most companies operate. Look at their want ads. They are always scouting out 'team players'. It's something they value. The introvert can do fabulous work but if a team player is in her or his vicinity doing equally good work but who loves to collorbate as a team, they will be the one walking away with the accolades.

 

I am not saying it is wrong or right. I am saying this is how it is in the workplace more often than not.

 

i've never noticed those 'rules' here. Just because your quiet doesn't mean your not a team player. I think employers are a smarter than that to assume it.

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i've never noticed those 'rules' here. Just because your quiet doesn't mean your not a team player. I think employers are a smarter than that to assume it.

 

The employer will go by actions. If the introvert never steps up to the plate to volunteer to work with groups they might get ostracized. Again, please note I am not saying this is right or wrong, it just makes one more marketable to volunteer to work on groups and take on projects, etc. SInce work is voluntary for the employer and employee in most states it is just always a good gamble to try to market oneself the best way possible to stay competitive. The introvert doesn't HAVE to do this but it is helpful for career growth.

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Okay, you are an introvert. No problems. People are allowed to be introverts, there is no crime against that. Some people are extroverts, again, no crime about being one of those. In your initial post, you state that you work with a bunch of sales people. To be a good salesperson, you need to be an extrovert. You need to be outgoing and talkative. Introverts tend to get annoyed at the noise extroverts must always be making, and while extroverts don't care about introverts, they do often wonder why people are so quiet and make side 'seeming funny' - to them - quips about it. You have to understand that they are two different types of people and they often don't understand the other side and how they function.

 

So, while you get annoyed at how they are, and wish they were more like you, they wish you were more like them. The best thing to do, is speak to your manager, and see if you can make arrangements to be placed somewhere that will allow you to better do your job in YOUR way and let them do their job in THEIR way. If you don't think your manager is the best person, then speak to an Human Resources person that does understand the differences in people's personalities.

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I think it is because virtually every office/company in america values teamwork as a desired attribute in an employee. You'll be hard pressed to find companies that advertise for "the lone ranger" in their want ads.

 

See, I have to disagree with you on most counts. Firstly, team world is a desirable attribute in many workplaces throughout the world, but I have seen and responded to many roles that have required independent worker, that can respond to a larger group, but can work on their own with minimal support or teamwork. Many research roles require this, many management roles require this.

 

Also, I think you pigeon hole introverts, and I don't think that totally fair. Just because an introvert is quiet, doesn't mean they aren't assertive. Just because an introvert is quiet, doesn't mean they are a nightowl, they are late to work or they don't pull their weight in the workplace. Those thigns can describe extroverts too. I just think that it is two very different personality types and should be understood for what they are, people, who view the world in different ways.

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Why do people hate it when one's quiet at work?

 

Answer: FEAR.

 

Most chatty people at work are not as productive at work by their very extroverted nature. They roam around wasting company time and spreading rumors. As a result, they are always in fear of losing their job. That's right. They watch their back more often than you think. Since they often back-stab everyone in their conversations, they are always afraid of those quiet productive co-worker who may be typing up a report about them. And their sarcastic comments are actual attempts to make sure that that's not the case.

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I'm all the above. Introvert that stays up too late and RARELY gets into the office before 10am. lol It's just such a stressful job and I have long tenure so they deal with it. I'm on-call after 5pm and all night, 24/7...so I'll sleep in later if I want, but I do get my hours in.

 

Now for the quietness, I too greet ppl in the office, I even chat with ppl here and there, but ultimately I stay quiet, especially during meetings. I just can't open up...it's my personality and not much I can do about it. But you ask anyone to describe me with one word, they'll say "quiet." Yet I don't feel that I am, I don't like to gossip and I don't initiate much conversation...and unfortunately I come accross as being "stuck up" sometimes.

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Nice post. And kind of where I was going. If you work with sales as an introovert, let's face it. YOU ARE going to feel a bit left out. Sales people are extroverts by nature. If this isn't the right environment, try to find a job where you can flourish as the introvert. A lot of data analysts are more isolated and introverted. Make sure you are in the right job for your attributes. Perhaps that is the problem. You want to have your skills recognized by working in the right type of job.

 

Trust me, sales is not an environment where an introvert will feel his or her best. You will always be surrounded by gregarious, competitive and outgoing types and they will view you as the 'outsider' (again, not saying this is RIGHT...I am trying to speak real world terms here, not eutopia). Companies are trying to do better at inclusion and celebrating differences, but the bottom line is always going to be the main goal, and bottom line for a sales force is getting out there and being competitive because if they don't they will fall short.

Edited by G-Snap
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And for the record, I love introverts. Just make sure you are in a job that being an introvert is a integral part of the department culture and helps to achieve company goals. If you are in a department where teamwork is the focus, it will always make you feel like you are falling short.

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I'm a big extrovert and quiet people make me nervous, you never know what they are thinking. I am excellent at my work, not good, excellent! I am outgoing,hardworking, someone who others rally around and the person who keeps the morale high. People LIKE being around me because I'm friendly. Now, do I tease quiet people? NO. Quiet people have the right to be quiet, but I do try to draw them into conversations because people need interaction with others. It's fun! Often these quiet people become some of my best work friends and quiet extroverted. I rub off on others sometimes. If you like being an introvert, but extroverts are trying to get you to change, well, talk to them. We don't bite and, contrary to many views, we are great workers, have a lot of energy, and make very good friends.

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I don't know, quiet people in the office can come accross as refusing to contribute. It depends where you work, but I work in a shared office with 8 other people, and it is kind of a team thing, a lot of interaction is informal. You spend 40 hours a week with these people, longer than with friends/family, so it's important I think that there is a good atmosphere.

 

We once had a very very shy person work with us (I think she was shy), but to be honest, she was disliked intensely by a lot of people. Her attituded came accross as very judgemental and disapproving. She would never say hello, or ask any questions about anyone else. She was such hard work to be around.

 

I know this isn't exactly what people want to hear, but at work, you want to work with pleasant, co-operative upbeat people. They don't need to be loud or outgoing, but they do need to be polite and seem to notice that their colleagues are alive (in my opinion, of course, YMMV). Just a simple thing like smiling at people can change their perceptions of you - what you see as quietness, other people may see as disapproval/hostility.

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i've never noticed those 'rules' here. Just because your quiet doesn't mean your not a team player. I think employers are a smarter than that to assume it.

 

Just what I was thinking. Sociability doesn't really translate to capacity for teamwork. I get along with everyone at work. A lot of the idle chit-chat that goes on is just gossip and in-fighting, none of which I take part in. With this kind of behavior I would hardly say they are paragons of teamwork.

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Just what I was thinking. Sociability doesn't really translate to capacity for teamwork. I get along with everyone at work. A lot of the idle chit-chat that goes on is just gossip and in-fighting, none of which I take part in. With this kind of behavior I would hardly say they are paragons of teamwork.

 

 

Ohh, you took the words right out of my mouth...err, off my screen. I'm a semi-introvert. It really depends on my work conditions and/or co-workers, when it comes to how quiet or extroverted I am. In some work situations--say, when I'm in a team-oriented environment with co-workers who are very close to my age--I'm often the most talkative person in the room.

 

In other situations--i.e., more professional jobs, where my co-workers are older/more mature than me--I'm almost always quiet. In my current position, I'm known as "the quiet one." In fact, there's a maintenance guy who's chit-chatty with the entire staff (approx. 40 people), but constantly "jokes" about how much I DON'T talk. Honestly, though, deep down, the reason why I don't talk to him--or many other co-workers at this job--is because I really feel like their conversation is so empty.

 

When I'm comfortable with people, I have a quick wit and bit sarcasm, but at my current job, any sarcasm I throw out is misinterpreted and if we have anyone on staff who can handle my brand of wit, I haven't met them yet. So, for me, my "quietness" has a great deal to do with utter laziness (on my part) to put in the effort to mold my personality to fit my workplace status quo.

 

As for why extroverts seem to dislike us quiet folk, I think it has a lot to do with their personal feelings--i.e., not understanding quiet people/ wondering what's going on underneath all that quiet--AND, often, their perceptions are that quiet equates with boring, dull or a lack of personality.

 

What's unfortunate, is that I can completely appreciate the qualities of an extrovert--in fact, my best friends are extroverts--but a lot of people (particularly in the work world) just overlook us quiet folk in favor of outgoing people since it's often easier to appreciate, and recognize, those people that managers/supervisors believe they "know" better.

 

In a lot of ways, we're all still kinda stuck in that high school-ey mindset.

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it's not about being introverted, it's about being friendly and considerate of others. i think you're being kind of self-absorbed. when you're at a work place with other people, there's a social responsibility to make it a fun/easy going place. by being quite all the time, you create this negative uneasy energy and honestly, i hate being around people like that. it's rude. just talk or smile -- even if it's once in awhile. okay, work when you work but when it comes to social time, make an effort. it IS your responsibility.

 

my mom is really quiet but everyone at work likes her. i'm also an introvert but i smile and am polite to people. being introverted doesn't mean you're in your own world and don't care about anyone else and their feelings.

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it's not about being introverted, it's about being friendly and considerate of others. i think you're being kind of self-absorbed. when you're at a work place with other people, there's a social responsibility to make it a fun/easy going place. by being quite all the time, you create this negative uneasy energy and honestly, i hate being around people like that. it's rude. just talk or smile -- even if it's once in awhile. okay, work when you work but when it comes to social time, make an effort. it IS your responsibility.

 

my mom is really quiet but everyone at work likes her. i'm also an introvert but i smile and am polite to people. being introverted doesn't mean you're in your own world and don't care about anyone else and their feelings.

 

ABSOLUTELY agree.

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Just what I was thinking. Sociability doesn't really translate to capacity for teamwork. I get along with everyone at work. A lot of the idle chit-chat that goes on is just gossip and in-fighting, none of which I take part in. With this kind of behavior I would hardly say they are paragons of teamwork.

 

No one on this thread is suggesting anything about engaging in idle chit chat or being an office gossip. That has NOTHING to do with teamwork, being pleasant or being a cheerful addition to your workplace. You dreamt up this definition all on your own - no one here even kinda implied that this was a good thing to do or be. I've never engaged in office gossip or non-sensical chit chat in my entire career. But yet I am viewed as a pleasant person to be around and people enjoy working with me on projects and have told me that often. I am nose to the grindstone most of the time as I work hard but I know how to smile and engage people in small talk occasionally such as "how was your weekend" or ask them "how's the family" and genuninely CARE about what they have to say in answer. These types of engagement convos only have to take a mere few minutes but makes the person you are talking too feel like you value what they have to say. The type of office gossip you are referring to is viewed equally or even more annoying as the quiet person who refuses to smile or talk to people.

 

My thoughts are very close to Honey Pumpkin's. There are quiet people I work with who are dears and they make an effort to be inclusive. Then there are others who are downright unapproachable who make others feel uncomfortable.

Edited by G-Snap
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I worked with a girl who was so quiet and never bothered to make and effort to be social and everyone in the office despised her.

 

There's nothing wrong with being quiet, but I do think that some introverts think that if you are talking you can't possibly be working hard.

 

Also, the girl in my office rarely made any effort to get to know people and you could tell she thought she worked harder than others, which didn't lead to friendly relations in the office.

 

Like another person says, it comes accross as self-absorbed.

 

I do notice a bit of the "aren't I a hard worker" coming accross in your post, so I'm sure it comes accross to your colleagues as well.

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I am a quiet person and I have experienced this myself.

 

My quietness actually came up on an evaluation at my last job once. I was told maybe I could try to socialize a little more with my co workers. But I really didn't have much in common with them and it takes me a long time to warm up to people. I learned after getting fired that my lack of social interest at work was one of the main reasons they fired me.

 

It seems like quiet people are mistaken for anti social. And a lot of people find it hard to trust a quiet person because they don't know what we are thinking.

 

And there's this idea that serial killers are always quiet people... "It's the quiet ones you gotta watch." etc.

 

I've been referred to as "creepy" before. The reason was because I never say anything.

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Gossip is a form of socialising whether or not you had that in mind when you first made the point. Of course it has nothing to do with teamwork, that was my point, but it's still socialising and goes to demonstrate my point that being sociable isn't a good enough indicator of being a teamworker. Caring about one another facilitates teamwork, and you can care about people whether or not you are quiet or making small talk. I already try to be pleasant and friendly at work, that's why I get along with my colleagues while they are at each other throats. I do not think we are arguing here.

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Gossip is a form of socialising whether or not you had that in mind when you first made the point. Of course it has nothing to do with teamwork, that was my point, but it's still socialising and goes to demonstrate my point that being sociable isn't a good enough indicator of being a teamworker. Caring about one another facilitates teamwork, and you can care about people whether or not you are quiet or making small talk. I already try to be pleasant and friendly at work, that's why I get along with my colleagues while they are at each other throats. I do not think we are arguing here.

 

M point is that no one likes an office gossip and that is NOT what we are talking about, whether you inferred it or not, it's not what we meant, and I don't see anyone arguing, just disagreeing and making statements of clarity.

 

The office gossip is usually more disliked then the one who never says anything, but they are both equally annoying and usually damaging to a team environment.

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i think what also needs to be taken into account is to distinguish between being quiet/introverted/shy and being unfriendly/not personable/not willing to contribute to the team. there is a difference, in some cases a big one. if you're talking about never ever engaging in friendly banter with coworkers then that would probably be perceived as unfriendly and cold. if your talking about not getting involved in unnecessary/malicious gossip and such with in the office then that well might actually still be perceived negatively by coworkers who may perceive you as a goody two shoes who chooses not to stoop down to that level (aka possibly feeling like you need to be dragged down a few notches? totally not cool but could be the case). i'm an introvert too, shy in most situations, and have had a hard time in work environments because of it. this is even after putting forth efforts to be friendly/cordial/personable and even if too shy to let my guard down to coworkers about my personal life, am still a team player who tries hard to contribute to better the work environment and build good professional relationships with coworkers. i think sometimes people also need to realize that, as i opened with, there is a huge difference between an introvert and someone who's not a team player. introverts just contribute more quietly (and in many, but by no means all cases, with a more sincere effort)

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