People spend a significant amount of their time at work. While achieving goals and earning an income are important in a job, forming meaningful relationships can be just as valuable. Having friends in the workplace can make the workday more enjoyable, help build morale and create a support system among colleagues. Whether you’re starting a new job or want to build better relationships in your current role, here are some tips to help you make friends in the workplace.
Be Open and Friendly
It can be difficult to make friends when you’re new to an organization, but creating an open and friendly environment can help. At the most basic level, try to make eye contact with people and to smile when you introduce yourself.A friendly attitude can also be reflected in your interactions with colleagues. For example, try to address people in a welcoming tone and offer help when someone seems to be stuck.Engage others in conversations and let them know that you’ll be happy to answer any questions they may have.
Join Groups and Participate
If your workplace has any extracurricular activities or interest groups, consider joining and participating in them. They can be a great way to socialize and meet people with similar interests to you. For example, if there’s a lunchtime running group, sign up and join in. You’ll be able to break the ice with others while you exercise together.Similarly, if there are regular events or socials, make an effort to attend them and get to know people. Just don’t forget to take part: joining an activity is one thing, but actually engaging and conversing with those around you is another.
Networking doesn’t necessarily have to take place at official events or conferences. There are plenty of ways to build relationships in the workplace itself. For example, if there’s someone who’s doing work you find interesting, strike up a casual conversation with that individual and ask about their project. Explore ways to add value to their work, and if you can, offer ideas or help.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time to spare, you can still connect with people. Consider having quick catch ups in the kitchen or taking a walk in your lunch break. When you start hearing the same people, approach them and introduce yourself. You may be surprised by how easy it is to get comfortable with each other.
Get Involved in Decisions
If a colleague’s facing a difficult decision and is unsure how to proceed, you can use this as an opportunity to help them—and possibly even make a friend. As long as your advice is well-meaning and useful, they’re likely to appreciate your input.
Don’t Forget About Social Media
While forming real-life relationships is important, don’t forget about digital networks, such as social media. Make sure you’re friending your colleagues on connecting networks when appropriate and responding to conversations. Just make sure you don’t overshare—don’t use them to broadcast unsubstantiated rumors or vent about workplace issues.
Be an Active Listener
Speaking of conversations, it’s important to remember that relationships are a two-way street. Make sure you’re actively listening when people start talking to you.For instance, if someone is talking about what happened on the weekend, be sure to listen carefully and respond with engagement. Asking appropriate questions to get a conversation going and showing sincere interest in their answers will go a long way.
Above all, be yourself. Developing relationships with your colleagues requires trust and respect. Let your true personality shine through and acknowledge your weaknesses, so others can trust in your honesty.
Making friends can be challenging in the workplace, but it’s often worth the effort. In addition to providing a strong network of support, cultivating a few good relationships in your workplace can help build morale and energize the entire team. As you strive to achieve your career goals, don’t forget to take the opportunity to build lasting bonds with your colleagues.