Introvert Employee Claims She Was Given An Ultimatum To Either Small Talk With Her Coworkers Or Get Fired

Viewers blamed her.

Woman on TikTok told to talk more at work TikTok

For people who are not social butterflies, meaningless workplace banter can be excruciating. Hanging out at the watercooler to hear about your coworkers' weekend or marital woes is a welcome reprieve for some, but a time-wasting headache for others.

One woman named Sarah posted a since-deleted video captioned, “Ain’t nothing that will make you more hated in the office or corporate environment than skipping small talk” on TikTok. She told viewers that she had been threatened about her anti-social behavior by her employer.


Sarah, a marketing professional at an architectural business, came to work, did her job, and went home. She chose to keep the relationships between herself and her colleagues strictly professional, refraining from engaging in personal interactions.

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Her choice to not befriend her coworkers resulted in her employers stepping in.

To add context, the woman said that everyone in the firm had either attended school together or had similar roles, so would hang out frequently. Because she shared none of those commonalities, she chose not to participate.


In addition, she had a personal life outside of work and did not want to attend happy hours with people who she did not consider ‘friends’. Small talk was not her strong suit and according to her, made her physically uncomfortable.  

Sarah’s introverted personality didn’t fit the image of what the leadership in her organization wanted, so they told her that she should start being social with her coworkers or she would be terminated.

Understanding that she would never be able to live up to the ultimatum placed on her by her employer, the woman opted to resign, leaving her job and sense of stability behind.

Though Sarah has taken down the original video about the incident, she did take the time to respond in a subsequent post to critique from a viewer.


That man said, “You don’t have to be friends, but d-mn, you can’t at least be friendly? The whole ‘how was your weekend?’ can give you just enough with the fewest words.”

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Sarah explained that although small talk makes her extremely uncomfortable and she goes to great lengths to avoid it, she did not intend to give the impression that she rebuffed coworkers when they spoke to her, as that was not the case.


She clarified that she did participate in conversations that occurred naturally between her and her colleagues but did not go out of her way to initiate interactions with others at work as requested by the company. She shared a video where she wondered why people would assume she had never socialized at all at work.

In another clip, Sarah responded to a viewer’s comment about how some employees, like those in the IT department are not held to the same social standards as others. This prompted a discussion about the double standards around socializing when it comes to men and women.



Sarah explained that when she was anti-social, she was viewed as a ‘b-tch’ while men in IT and engineering were seen as simply ‘quirky.’ Research backs up her claims as it shows that gender discrimination at work has impacted more women than men.


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Studies show that women at work are expected to behave and show up at work in accordance with the gender norms placed on them by society.

Women are expected to be open, nurturing, emotional, and expressive in all aspects of their lives. A failure to do so can result in a perception that they are out of the ordinary or that something is amiss with their personality. They are not allowed the same personal autonomy that men are.

Employers need to be especially careful when forcing workers to interact. Social anxiety is a diagnosable disorder that can impact the ability to build and maintain relationships.

It is also covered by the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and can leave companies vulnerable to legal consequences when they fail to accommodate employees.


To be fair, there are several advantages of socializing in the workplace. They include sharing of knowledge, inclusion, networking, diversity of thought, teamwork, building alliances, and creating allies. From a productivity standpoint, businesses with a healthy social environment run more efficiently.

It’s important for organizations to ensure that their expectations are across the board and that they are not subjecting women to the many double standards that are frequently placed upon them when it comes to their careers.

In the best-case scenarios, employees are able to show up as their authentic selves at work while employers provide ample diverse opportunities for them to socialize in the ways that they are most comfortable and effective.


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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.