Pretty vulnerable post/question, but hey, you're family :)

Hey guys!

In a nutshell, I started a new job last month, and I’m having trouble meshing with my coworkers. At my core, I’m a really charismatic person, to the point where, in the past, I’ve come off as really flirty, regardless of if I was talking to a guy or girl (I’ve recently corrected this).

My coworkers are incredible people, but complete opposite of my core personality type. They’re very down-to-earth, quick-witted, and relatively unexpressive, so it’s really hard to read them. To compensate, I’ve been trying really hard to get on their level, forcing myself to match their personality type. In essence, it has been really stressful, trying (and failing) to morph into someone I’m not, just to fit in. How do I feel like I’m failing? I feel like I’ve overcorrected to the point of shutting myself off completely. To add to the stress: I still feel like I don’t fit in.

Naturally, I would just want to resort back to acting like myself, since all-else is failing. But honestly, I’m so scared to be viewed as the outsider - the obnoxious werido in the group. Even as my core-self, I’m fine at starting and holding conversations with strangers and good friends, but I’m terrible with acquaintances (because there’s less to talk about), and my coworkers would fall into the latter category.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?


I’ve found it the same in the past, where acquaintances lie in that unformed region where they don’t get total “first-time meeting me” talk, nor “i already know you as a friend” talk.

My question is - do you have degrees to being charismatic? Does it have to be full 100% for you to feel like you?
Or can you dial it back to like 50%, and still feel like you, just in a slightly restrained manner?

Common interests are a good way to start - and it may literally be the job that is all you share, so talk about that, about training you’ve done and learnt new skills, places you’ve travelled to study. Tangential stuff that builds off the core shared things, that slowly revel if you and the others can branch out to talking about other stuff. Some people will remain as work-mates only, and that’s fine too.

Hiding yourself completely is a stressful thing, and the world deserves to know your sparkly self! If you’re having trouble reading them, can you ask them to give you more vocally clear indications of what’s up, as in express themselves with words so that communication is easier for the whole team? Also, congrats on the new job!


Honestly? I’d be myself and not worry about fitting in. Generally as long as you’re friendly and helpful, I find that it’s easy to at least maintain good raport with co-workers. I have pretty much stopped worrying about fitting in as I’ve gotten older but I suppose that could come from a life of few good friends over many acquaintances as it were, or I guess it might come with age? Either way, you may just be overthinking. They might actually like the real you, haha.


@Sita - I reckon my default is either 100% on or 100% off, so it’ll take some time to find that balance. I’ve also noticed that being in a professional, office workplace is much different than being in a casual, public setting. Trying to find that balance of using “professional vs casual slang” while being in a corporate building with acquaintances has been a steep learning curve. Naturally, it’s always difficult to be “that new guy” with a closely-knit team, so that has been a learning curve as well - training myself to not be offended when I’m left out of inside jokes, or when my coworkers are talking to each other without bringing me into the conversation, and feeling like I need to force-inject myself (which feel awkward, in itself). To keep my head above water, I’ve been telling myself that it’ll get easier with time, because I would be doing my mental state an disservice by speaking any other (negative) words over myself. In the past, I’ve found that the best way to grow is by purposely placing myself outside of my comfort zone, but man, this one stings.

@Sapphire - I appreciate your input! I can agree that it comes with age. Albeit I’m only 30, I’ve noticed a drastic difference between high school and current times, so I can only imagine it gets better with time. Still, I believe it’s in our primal nurture to be loved and accepted by others. On my drive home today, I actually quoted what you mentioned of, “Hmm maybe I’m just overthinking everything” (which I’m very prone to do). If only it was easy not to overthink things!


You can say that again.



You shouldn’t fight to make yourself fit in in a way that you can’t, you should embrace your differences and make friends in that way. Also don’t just try to fit the standards of other people, have standards for yourself and value them. If you try you best to fit in a place you know isn’t like you, then are you really valuing and loving yourself and your own standards?

I get how it is with social groups, and I also understand how hard it is to get along with people in an environment that you can never seem to fit in. That’s what makes it so hard to find a good job most of the time, because usually the enviroments “normalcy box” tends to be either toxic or something I can’t get behind bc I don’t fit into any of them. But you shouldn’t hold yourself back just because other people are trying to make you fit into that enviromental social construct. The thing about “normal” people is that they always feel a need to be better than the other so they all try to keep up by fitting in the same box, when really that’s extremely dumb and very boring and mainly is deeply bred from their own and others insecurities. They’re taught at a young age to fear the unknown and accept what’s understood aka; That certain things should be accepted and others should be looked down upon if misunderstood. When really, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, none of this should even matter. What makes you - you is unique and different and there’s nothing wrong with it. But people don’t like to listen to that, so they choose to make others insecure. And when people are taught to become insecure instead of embracing who they are, they tend to grow up to be cynical selfhating assholes, or become extremely insane because of how long they’ve been trying to hold back those insecurities, eventually getting into messed up stuff and finding very dark places to find acceptence.

If I’m to be honest, you don’t even have to be friends with your co-workers. You can just work with them, and talk professionally. And you don’t have to open up everything about yourself, you can just talk like yourself and be comfy with what you say without expecting anything back. They’re just people they’re certainly not perfect and they’ve got as many flaws and differences as you do.

So, I’m neurodivergent, so whenever I do things I never fit in, in literally anything, so because of that, eventually I realized it didn’t matter and I just kinda gave up on trying to fit in. I decided I didn’t care because I knew there were other people out there like me with the same interests passions and hobbies, struggling with the exact same feeling. So, I wasn’t actually weird. I also eventually did meet actual weird people, and when I did I really realized I wasn’t even close to weird. Most people who say they’re weird aren’t weird, so just trust me on this. You’re not weird, don’t call yourself that. And if you’re also nuerodivergent, you’re not alone <3

When socializing, don’t just act a certain way for different people. When it comes to professionality ofc yes that’s important, but when if comes to making friends, that’s only going to hurt you. Also, you shouldn’t open up because they don’t think you’re weird and they accept you, you should open up because you’re comfortable and they’re worth your time and you feel safe. Friendships are not about not being seen as weird and simply just being accepted, they’re about comfort and joy and fun. But I get most of the time this isn’t easy to find, In these cases I don’t care about being anything but professional and trying to get out of a conversation or observing it because it’s better than being treated harshly. But that doesn’t mean that should be the “norm”, you should be allowed to feel comfortable and protected and safe, you should be aloud to be yourself. I mean honestly, if someone sees you as weird, who cares, they’re probably weirder than you. I’ve been told I was weird by people who were very mentally deranged and by people who have abused me. So bc of that I think if someone ever considers you as weird, they’re usually either just pushing their own insecurities onto you or they fear the unknown phsychology of the mind. That’s just me though. I think if you accept the parts of you that you think are weird you would care less for people seeing you that way. Plus if you embrace the parts of yourself that people don’t understand, they may embrace it too. Teaching the unknown properly is important for creating an unfeared healthy, knowing enviroment around it. In your work environment you aren’t weird you just haven’t found people like you.

If you’re just wanting to seem professional, then you can keep the parts of you that are different a secret, and by that I mean like, if there’s a hobby that’s so complicated you doubt a usual person would understand without a very lengthy explaination then don’t mention it to people. Other than that the more you’re worried about how to act around people the worse you’ll actually act by accident. I’ve been able to accidently become “popular” before and I have NO IDEA how :rofl: I bluffed my way through the whole thing and it ended horribly. But you know what I learned through it? It was extremely stupid and wasn’t worth my time. The people I was around were really boring and messed up in the head, and if I said anything bluntly they’d take it in a social cue aspect and think I was bullying them or is as insane immediatly, it’s really stupid. They were all people who had succumbed to the controls of peer pressure and didn’t know how to think for themselves, so they were chaotic and a mess to be around. What I also learned about this is that I genuinely do not care for people who pretend to not have emotions or actually don’t, if someone isn’t going to put an emotional effort into a friendship then it isn’t a friendship at all. As for aquaintences they’re not that important if they don’t connect with you and are expecting more out of you than you can give them right? That isn’t really something healthy to get into. If you’re typically a ND and you try to mask your way into a social group that relies on “normalcy” odds are you will eventually get kicked out because you don’t know how those social skills actually work and it will end up showing. Best odds are to usually try and be yourself as professionally as possible and if they don’t like it then fuck them. Again though, this is coming from someone who never fits in, idk if you’re in the same box as me or not. Point is tho, have standards for yourself.

I hope that this maybe could have helped you. I also struggle in work enviroments, but that isn’t just because I’m different it’s mainly because all the work enviroments around this state are insane and safety is the minority.

Remember to think about yourself in this, you’re important too.

From someone who also considers this place family,


1 Like

Ahh I feel your pain and I’m so sorry that it’s been hard to try to find your place. It’s especially hard when it comes to work environment.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a charismatic person at all, there’s always a place and a time for showing of different extents of enthusiasm, but all in all you shouldn’t have to shut yourself down to fit in.
Here’s the question, are you wanting to make more of a closer connection to your work mates or are you happy with them being acquaintances?
Somehow I manage to just weasel my way into making people at work be friends with me even though I’m a quieter person.
Do you want work to be an environment where work is work or an environment where you can talk and connect more?
I think once people get a chance to actually know who you are as yourself they will enjoy your presence and what you bring to the table. It’s hard meeting new people and trying to figure them out (that’s my opinion from someone who isn’t an extrovert or charismatic).
So now even with someone in particular who others think is a bit hard and cold, I find that just keeping at casually chatting and being friendly, they now like spending time with me at work.
I’ve also had instances where I’ve had to sort of pull up more immature colleagues- like don’t use that language at work or perhaps show a bit of respect to your senior, but I don’t feel you’d fall into that kind of category
It’s also nice if you have a chance to join in out of work fun should it come up. It’s so much more relaxed and you can actually talk more freely. Always a great opportunity to connect.
There will always be someone you clash with, that’s inevitable, but as long as there’s amicability then that doesn’t matter too much. Suppressing yourself completely is going to mentally and emotionally drain you and perhaps make you feel terribly isolated.
Sometimes it takes just talking about generic stuff for a while like different music or shows ect.
Then you start to find out “oh you like that too?”.
You have every right to feel comfortable and happy in your work environment


Question: Could you have a work persona? Not lying about yourself, but just having a list of things that you talk about to non-friends? Weather, events locally, work stuff. Nothing beyond that, like a stack of topics you’ll cycle through because we only talk with acquaintances so much or so often.
I have such a strong “for strangers only” persona that people have asked if I have an accent/where am I from because my way of speaking is so formal and direct/to the point. I can be pleasant but I don’t offer you anything of me, I’m just there to bounce back what you give me and to do the work I need done; then I’ll go off to my friends at the office and chat up a storm.

not sure if that sort of “compartmentalized” behaviour is something you can do - sort of showing diff sides of your personality based on the situation.


As the down-to-earth, quick-witted, relatively unexpressive guy (engineer), I’ll say that highly charismatic people in the office (customer-facing) can be a bit intense, but we can also tell if they’re trying to match our energy. It comes off as weird and a bit patronizing. Be yourself, be genuine, get to know your coworkers in a way that’s comfortable for you. It takes all types to make the office work and the world go 'round. Your energy level is less important than your earnestness. And hey, we relatively unexpressive folks appreciate a little bit of energy in the workplace :slight_smile:

If I could tell my charismatic coworkers how I want to be related to, I’d tell them:

  • Listen to us. We like to bullshit as much as the next people, but we can tell when someone is tuned out to load up their next story, and it feels like one-upmanship.
    *Don’t cut us off. If you have a poignant thought, we’ll track just fine if you bring it up at the end of our completed thoughts instead of that instant.
  • Engage in dialogue, not broken monologue. This goes back to listening vs loading up your next story. If I finish a thought and you respond with something that doesn’t expound upon or follow that thought, or something that keeps building on your previous thought without acknowledging what I just said, the conversation feels disjointed. It feels like you’re not listening and don’t care, and my assessment will be that you like hearing yourself talk.

One thing that brings me bitter amusement is to get 2 talkers together and watch them go back and forth with completely disjointed conversations, oblivious to everyone else around just staring at them. It’s like watching 2 separate TV shows getting played back and forth. It’s ridiculous, and good for an inside laugh later.

  • Treat us like we matter. We’re aware that we’re “technical.” We’re insecure about that. We want the charismatic people to like us and accept us, and we’re afraid they don’t because we’re not like them. If they talk at us instead of with us, we will close ranks and stick to ourselves where it’s safe. Don’t patronize, but treat us like equal peers. Again, we like to bullshit too.

Heavy charisma can be a lot to handle, and sometimes I might need to take it in small doses, but I like and respect the charismatic people that relate to me respectfully. Be yourself, treat your coworkers like they matter and have merit, and listen. They’re social creatures too. They want the same things you do out of a social interaction, they’re just quieter about it. The “obnoxious weirdo” can still belong–you don’t have to be an outsider.

To get started on relating with your coworkers, find common interests. Around my office, we like talking craft beer, barbecue, cars, dogs, and home improvement projects gone wrong.

PS: I really appreciate reading about your insecurities from the other side of the social spectrum. The quiet type people tend to assume that the charismatic people are completely self-assured. We perceive that it’s their world, and we just exist in it. Your post goes to show that people with opposite personalities really aren’t that different after all :slight_smile:


This topic was automatically closed after 365 days. New replies are no longer allowed.