Starting at a new job is never an easy task, and making friends at work is even harder. While you might be excited to start a new adventure, it's completely normal to feel nervous and scared because you truly want to make a good impression. And although making a good first impression to your boss is always a must, being friends and cordial with your coworkers is probably just as important.
As one gets older, it seems nearly impossible to make or maintain new friendships. Apart from life getting in the way and schedules not working out, maintaining friendship can be a job on its own. But while it might take a little more effort outside the office to maintain friendships, during office hours might be a little different: You practically see these people every single day, they probably know more about you than your crazy Aunt Linda, and lunch time usually bonds people together, because, you know, food is just that awesome. The thing is, while starting a new job can seem daunting and pretty freaking frightening, a lot of great friendships actually blossom out of the office because you are around these people 40 hours a week. So with a little bit of time and a lot of lunch dates, soon you will be making friends in no time.
1. Take Initiative
Invite them out. Strike up a conversation. Sometimes the best way to ignite the flame of a friendship is by simply taking the initiative. Introducing yourself is always a good way to get the ball rolling, and showing that you truly care about the well-being of the other person is just as good. It might be a lot for a person to put themselves out there, but remember: Don't over think it. If you think about it, friendships in the office are vital to maintain a happy work environment. According to a Huffington Post article that references a study led by Riordan, published in the Journal of Business Psychology in the '90s, even the opportunity of the possibility of friendship could increase employee job satisfaction. So not only are the friendships important to you, but they are also important to your work ethic.
2. Collaborate On Ideas
Another great way to create friendships in the workplace is by collaborating on ideas together. It's an easy way to strike up a new conversation, and it really gets ideas flowing when you are working with another person. Plus, if you are asking for their opinion on a project, it might show them that you value and trust their opinion, especially if you are sincerely listening to them and complimenting them. According to a Forbes article that referenced a study conducted by Professor Norihiro Sadato, professor at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, ”To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We’ve been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation.”
3. Be Dependable
One of the best attributes you can have to you and your work friends is by being dependable. I have heard time and time again, "I really like that person personally, but I hate working with them." That's not really the best way to start a new friendship, especially at the office. You want to make sure that you are starting off on the right foot by showing that you are a hard worker and care about everyone as a team. And the best way to do that is by kicking ass at your job and being a team player.
4. Don't Be Too Involved In The Office Gossip
Gossiping negatively behind peoples' back is never a nice thing to do. Just try to put yourself in their shoes: Would you want people to be gossiping about you without you knowing? Probably not. There is always two sides to every story, so before you make any judgments, it's best to just take whatever is being said with a grain of salt. According to CVTips article about how to handle office gossip, it's best to remain neutral and especially to not confront the office gossip. If you want to make new friends at a work place, just continue to do your job and let the gossip flow right over you.
5. Don't Forget To Be Yourself
While making friendships at the office is a very good thing to do to make your work life a lot easier, it's also a good reminder to just be yourself. Don't change your views or who you are because you want to fit in with the culture — you are more valuable then that to just "fit in." By being yourself, you are establishing your own identity and that's crucial, especially when you are starting at a new job. This will also be a good experience to see if your new job is meant for you. If you don't like the environment that you are working in because everyone talks trash about each other behind everyone's backs, then this might be a key indicator that that place is not for you.
6. Don't Force It
This is one of the best advices I have ever received and I could give. Don't force something that is just not there. There has been plenty of times when I was trying to make a friendship work because I thought that was what I wanted, but like any relationship, it's a two-way street. If you feel like you are being used, that the person doesn't really care, or that there truly isn't a connection, then just don't force it. There are plenty of people out there that you can hang out with and that you can truly be yourself around.
Making friendships at work can be intimidating, but there really isn't any reason why it needs to be. Just be yourself and continue to work hard. People, especially good friends, will gravitate towards you because they see how passionate you are at what you do. Add being friendly and (most importantly) yourself to the mix, and people won't be able to resist.
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