10 WAYS TO MAKE FRIENDS AT WORK
Photo by Drobot Dean
You probably didn’t take your job to make friends. But, it’s something that’s very important. Even if you love your job, there will most likely be challenges along the way. Having a strong support network can help you power through the tough days – and it makes work more fun!
Making friends at work can also help you move forward in your career. It boosts morale, and it can improve your productivity and engagement. Plus, you are likely to get more support in general and can build long-term connections to help you progress.
For many people, starting new friendships doesn’t come naturally. So, how can you make friends with your co-workers? If this is something that’s outside your comfort zone, here are 10 tips to get you on the right track:
1. Introduce yourself and start conversations
If talking to people you don’t know makes you nervous, it can be hard making new friends. However, taking small steps to start conversations can work wonders. Start with a simple “hello” or “have a nice weekend”, as this will help you build rapport.
Be as friendly as you can to those in your team, as well as others around the office. If you don’t know someone, try introducing yourself in a friendly, welcoming way.
Also, make small talk; for example, when you’re waiting to start a meeting or in the kitchen. Try asking about their weekend plans, their hobbies or interests, or any other topic you can think of.
2. Learn and use people’s names
To make your interactions more personal, learn as many people’s names as possible, and make sure you casually include these in your conversations.
Using people’s names when you talk to them creates a better first impression, as you’re showing more interest in them as a person.
3. Don’t eat at your desk
Your lunch break is one of the best times to make friends at work. Instead of eating at your desk, take your break in a communal area, like the kitchen or staff room.
Not only does taking some time away from your desk improve your productivity and mental health, it also gives you a chance to talk to other people in your workplace – especially those that you don’t have as much contact with normally.
4. Socialize with colleagues outside work
If your company organizes social events, you should always try and attend. This is an amazing opportunity to talk to your colleagues outside of working hours. Although it can be awkward, particularly if you don’t know anyone, it’s definitely worthwhile!
Whether it’s after-work drinks, family days, networking events, team building trips, or anything else, make sure you go and build some friendships.
If your workplace doesn’t organize events, an alternative is to invite your colleagues out yourself. You could start by asking a coworker out to coffee or lunch. Or, you could arrange drinks or another casual social event. This is a great chance to connect and bond!
5. Bring food to work
Bringing food into work for your colleagues is an awesome ice-breaker. You can take something that’s homemade if you want, but it doesn’t need to be. People really appreciate the gesture, and it makes it easier to start talking to people.
6. Have a positive attitude
Positivity can help you in all areas of life, including making friends. Having a positive attitude will draw people to you and means people will want to be around you more.
Avoid complaining all the time or focusing on the negative aspects of your job, and try not to get involved in drama, gossip, or cliques. Instead, focus on doing your job well, being friendly, motivating others, and making your workplace a fun place to be.
7. Offer to help others
Another fantastic way to make more friends is to offer people help as much as possible. This has many benefits, both socially and in terms of career advancement.
If someone asks for help with something, make sure you volunteer to do whatever you can to help, even if it’s not your job. Adopting a team player mindset is the top way to get to know people better and build genuine friendships with your colleagues.
8. Keep an eye on your body language
Getting your body language wrong could be hindering your ability to make friends, even if you don’t realize it. A lot of communication is non-verbal, so this is something to work on. Having an open, welcoming body language means people will be more likely to talk to you.
Always aim to avoid defensive body language, like crossing your arms; and avoid being constantly looking at your phone or having headphones in, as this can make you unapproachable.
9. Always be yourself
It may sound like a cliché, but one of the best ways to make friends is to be yourself. Being authentic means people get to know the real you.
You don’t need to share everything, of course, but it’s good to talk about yourself and your interests outside work. This will help you to form friendships that are genuine.
10. Don’t give up – even if it’s tough!
Remember, even if it takes longer than expected, don’t stop making the effort. Sometimes it takes a while to make friends, and that’s okay. Don’t give up, even if it’s awkward to begin with, it will be worth it in the end.
By following these tips, you can improve your chances of making meaningful, lasting friendships at work. Just give it some time!