I can relate. I work as a senior UX designer/Researcher at a major consultant agency where I am involved in 3-6 inhouse projects at a time with different clients and stakeholders, and with different internal project managers, designer and developers. I share an office with ~60 collegues and we are around 8000 employees in total.
I also happen to introverted and somewhat awkward and uncomfortable around people, partially explained by the fact that I have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. I think it is of great importance to allow oneself to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I love talking to users and stakeholders, getting to know the problems and contexts, but as soon as the workshop is over I’m done. I don’t push myself to engage in small talk just because I feel I should, and I rarely have a genuine interest in the people I work with. Not with my clients and not with my collegues.
The things I learn about the people I interview are just data really, even when I strongly empathize; attributes and behaviours I describe and put in a document and use to draw conclusions about possible solutions to thier problems. I do not care about these people, and I do not feel bad that I don’t.
In order for you to do your job, you don’t have to connect to and make an effort to get to know the people you work with. You only need to understand them in their roles and their contexts, and understand their problems. As long as you are passionate about research, design and problem solving, and this shows, no one will (should) require that you also make an effort to be talkative or popular. Just do your job well, and be the awkward genius. That being said, some of the best friends I have are people I’ve met through work, I just don’t expect to find them there.
Hope this helps, what you are describing should not have to be a hindrance in your professional capacity.