Trying to make friends at work can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Most coworkers will be preoccupied with advancements in their careers, and most cliques in the office may seem firmly forged. Where does that leave you? It doesn’t leave you left out in the cold, that’s for sure. If you want to make friends at work, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances.
Trying to fit in with a new group of people can be difficult. You don’t have to become best friends with your work colleagues, but it’s a good idea to become friendly with the people you work with, so that your days are comfortable and fulfilling.
Arriving at the office for a first day on the job can be absolutely nerve-wracking, especially if you don’t know anyone there. Making friends is bound to be a top priority as the sooner you fit in, the sooner you can relax and feel at ease. Below are several ways in which you can effectively make friends in the workplace within the first few weeks of employment.
18 simple ways to make friends in the workplace:
1. Be proactive about introducing yourself.
When you are the newbie, you might expect other people to approach you and introduce themselves, but the responsibility really relies on you. You are the newest member of the team, and you are going to have to put yourself out there, no matter how overwhelming that might seem. As soon as you arrive, take a breath and introduce yourself to people. Smile, make eye contact, and take on a friendly attitude. You can even ask for a tour of the office, which will make introductions a whole lot easier.
2. Get actively involved in small talk (leave your fears at the door).
Small talk is where it’s all at in the first few days of a new job. If you spend the first few days being reclusive at your desk and avoiding any group conversations, you’re going to be setting the scene for the rest of your career at that particular workplace. Open yourself up to conversation by listening to what people are talking about and getting actively involved. Show interest, ask questions, and laugh along with them. It might seem daunting when you don’t know anyone, but just put yourself out there. People love to talk about themselves – capitalize on that.
3. Earn friendship with delicious snacks.
On many occasions, the way to someone’s heart is via their stomach! Arrive at work bearing gifts of delectable treats. If you don’t know what to bring, think about getting some cupcakes, muffins, cookies, or similar. What better way to have your morning coffee break than with a baked treat? Your coworkers will love you for it.
4. Practice approachable and open body language.
It might be tempting to hide out at your desk when you’re the newbie, but that’s a bad idea. If you are hunched over your phone texting or engrossed on your computer looking too busy to talk, people will read your body language and assume you want to be left alone. Unfold those arms, look open, make eye contact, smile, and be chatty. Don’t allow your body language to make you look unapproachable.
5. Always greet coworkers.
Just because you don’t know everyone’s names or feel a bit shy doesn’t mean that you should avoid people. Rather greet everyone with a smile and a bit of chit-chat every morning. It will go a long way towards making you appear friendly, approachable, and worth being friends with. A positive force is always attractive.
6. Be humorous.
Heard something funny on the news? Know a good joke? Been sent a funny meme? Know something funny about the industry? Share the information with your coworkers! They will appreciate your efforts of trying to brighten their day and will feel more drawn to you. Most people like a person with a good sense of humor.
7. Always attend company events.
The culture of calling in sick to company events is fading away. For many, it’s becoming a trend to attend such events and make the most of them. Jump at the opportunity to attend every event and gathering that the office is hosting or holding. You will be able to spend some time with your colleagues in a more relaxed setting, and this is a great way to chat, connect, and make friends.
8. Invite your coworkers to happy hour (first round on you).
The new guy/girl is well within his/her rights to call a “happy hour” gathering with coworkers. Ask people in the break room if they would like to go for after-work drinks. Make it more alluring by offering first round on you. Many would like to get out for a drink. Choose a night of the week where everyone is available and allow colleagues to recommend the spot to head to.
9. Add coworkers on social media (comment, like, connect).
Not everyone likes to have their colleagues on their social media profiles, but if this doesn’t bother you, go for it. When you add colleagues on social media, it gives you the opportunity to find out what they are interested in and talking about (and it provides them with the same opportunity). Comment on their photos, like their posts, and show that you are keen to connect. Social media can really spur on a fun friendship.
10. Offer to make coffee for others when you make for yourself.
Are you about to make yourself a cup of coffee? Offer to make a cup for your coworkers too. Deliver each cup with a smile. It will show that you are friendly and keen to form friendships…people appreciate that!
11. Get away from your desk for lunch.
If you are the type to scoff back a sandwich while you’re sitting at your desk, you might want to stop doing that! Yes, you have work to do, but it could be misinterpreted. Coworkers might think that you don’t want to socialize with them. Head to the staff break room and have lunch with the others. It will help you to start integrating with the team.
12. Don’t get involved in office gossip.
If someone approaches you with some office gossip, listen, but don’t get involved in gossiping too. This sort of thing could blow up in your face. You would hate to say something only to have it repeated. That will ruin your chances of building friendships for sure! Be very careful with office gossip. The further you get away from it, the better.
13. Show interest in other people.
When you are trying to make friends, it is prime time to show more interest in other people than you do in yourself. Ask people questions about themselves and encourage them to speak about the things they are passionate about and love. It’s a great way to get to know people better and gravitate towards those who have similar values and life views as you. People love to talk about themselves – you cannot go wrong with this method.
14. Be friendly and smile – people gravitate towards that.
Even if you aren’t very good at small talk, make sure that you are friendly and smile as much as possible. People naturally gravitate towards friendly and positive people.
15. Become part of the “pack” – use observation to your advantage.
You want to fit in as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean that you have to become someone you are not, but try to quickly fit in with the office dynamic and become part of the pack. Observe how people behave towards each other. By simply watching, you can see who is “who” in the office space. You can see how people come and go, what’s considered acceptable, how people speak and socialize. All of this will help you to fit in and start making friendly alliances with work colleagues.
16. Find out what gym classes your colleagues attend.
For instance, if you’re trying to fit in with the girls in the office, no doubt there are regular yoga or gym classes that a few of them like. Get yourself to one of their classes and start bonding through fitness. If you’re a guy, find out what gyms the guys go to or what sports teams they are on, and if they need extras. Get actively involved. Sport and fitness is a great way to bond with other people.
17. Offer a helping hand (but have boundaries).
If someone is working tirelessly on a work project, offer to help them out, even if it’s to handling printing, or making calls and photocopies. You could even offer to make bottomless cups of coffee or order lunch in. The more you try to ease the load (with boundaries, of course) for your colleagues, the more they will appreciate your presence.
18. If someone is having a hard time, show them that you care.
If you noticed that someone got into trouble with the boss, missed a deadline, or just seems emotional at work, show them you care. Leave a greeting card on their desk, invite them out for a coffee or lunch, or just lend an ear. You don’t have to fully understand the problem or agree with their sentiments – you really just have to be there. Being there for others is a great way to be a friend.
If you want to make friends at work, use the above 18 suggestions, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Head into the office space with the confidence that you have the skills and the personality to make great work friends – because you do!