Making friends at work is not always easy, but it’s almost always worth it.
Considering how much time we spend at work, it’s nice to develop friendships with our co-workers. It makes the working day more enjoyable and for many, it’s the only real time we have to meet people and establish friendships. This is all great, but sometimes it’s not so easy to progress from working relationships into friendships. So what are the best ways to improve the possibility of making friends at work?
Be prepared to talk.
It sounds simple but it’s how we get to know each other. People have to get to know you, and unless you talk, its all guesswork on their part meaning there’s less incentive for them to consider you a potential friend. Start by using work-related subjects to break the ice and create the channels of communication, and then take the opportunities to go off topic and talk about nonwork-related subjects. For example, ask open-ended questions, and pay colleagues compliments (in a politically-correct way!) to start a conversation going.
People appreciate someone who listens and you are likely to draw people to you as a result of being a good listener. However, do make sure the listening goes both ways and you don’t just become someone people use to air their gripes!
Push yourself into new areas.
Everyone has their likes and dislikes but sometimes in order to make friends, engaging in interests that you wouldn’t normally consider can be a good way to make friends at work.
Help your colleagues.
Be a team player. Be someone who’s happy to lend a hand, support your fellow workers, and volunteer when extra help is needed rather than sticking only to ‘your own’ work. Your likable nature will make you more attractive as a friend. Just be careful not to over-stretch yourself or neglect your responsibilities.
Join others during breaks and after work.
Rather than sitting at your desk with your sandwich for lunch, join your colleagues in the staff restaurant or go out with them for lunch-time or after work drinks. These are perfect times for getting to know each other better and friendships form in informal surroundings away from the office. If this doesn’t happen where you work, try initiating it yourself. Others may appreciate you taking the lead.
Attend training days and study seminars.
You’ll be away from your usual working duties and more likely to have opportunities to chat with others about the topic of the training day and your work within the company. There is often more chance to get to know each other and chat during the breaks and often meet up for drinks after to discuss the day, especially if the day finishes earlier than your normal working day.
Be attractive to your colleagues.
Moaning all the time and acting weirdly will repel rather than attract people to you. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself “would I want to be friends with me”? If the answer’s no then you can’t complain if others don’t appear to want to get to know you. Try to be the person you would like to be friends with; positive, relaxed, easy going, conscientious, trustworthy and reliable are just some of the positive qualities we look for in friends and which can be good to characteristics to develop in yourself.
Don’t rush it.
Sometimes it takes time to form friendships at work. At times it may not seem to be on the cards but you never know when something may happen that leads to a friendship forming. By doing your bit, you are making it more likely to happen when the time is right!