Your co-workers are pretty much your family away from family, whether you like it or not. You spend more time with them than you do anyone else, and it'd be better if you got along with them rather than entered a Jim and Dwight type of relationship. So as you can gather, it's pretty important to build relationships with your coworkers, making sure that you've got a team that's happy and cohesive, and that you have your select besties on deck that make the work week run so much smoother. But what do you do if you're just in the beginning stages of growing these relationships? What if you're just on a first name basis with everyone, only bumping into them by the microwave when you heat up leftovers from home or when you're on your way to the bathroom?
It can be pretty awkward to spring out a random "Want to hang out with me?" on them if you're not quite on that level yet. So the solution for this scenario? Get on that level! All it takes is a couple of strategic moves and just a general air of kindness, and you'll be on your way. Below are seven ways to build better relationships with your coworkers.
1. Be Thoughtful
Being thoughtful goes a long way when it comes to building relationships. Be the one that randomly buys coffee for your cubicle mate come two o'clock, offers to share her croissant when sharing a table in the kitchen, leaves a handwritten note on their desk when they knocked it out of the park — random acts of kindness go a long way with people.
Career writer Elana Lyn Gross at career development site The Muse, explained just how these gestures affect people, "In fact, I keep the thank you notes displayed at my desk so that when I’m having a tough day at work, I can quickly take a look and boost my mood." See — they're always appreciated!
2. Hand Out Credit Like It's Your Job
Something that's appreciated other than cups of coffee is appreciation and credit where it's due, so be the person that constantly bolsters up the team and gives attention to those that work hard to make the team a success. Just think back to the last time you were publicly appreciated during a team meeting or had someone lift you up in front of your boss — you probably felt gravy. And loved the person that did that for you.
Gross explained, "Say you’re in a meeting or on an email thread and someone mentions a successful project you’ve worked on. If the project was a team effort, mention all of the members who helped make it a success. Explain what they did and how they directly contributed to the outcome." Not only does this show that you appreciate them and think highly of their work, but it also shows you're not one of those idea-stealing credit hogs, which is always a super plus.
3. Use Lunch Hour As A Friendship Builder
Do you want to become pals with someone in your office, but feel awkward asking them out on a friend date out of no where? Use your lunch hour as the buffer that'll get you from point A to point B — offer to get some ice cream or sandwiches together during your hour off, and take it from there.
Career writer Belen Chacon at career development site Careerealism said, "If you’re unsure about inviting a co-worker to grab some dinner after work, or go out for a run over the weekend, why not start small and ask them out to lunch? You don’t have a whole lot to lose and, if you have a good time, it can become a regular thing and help you grow as co-workers." Pretty easy!
4. Be Available To Lend A Hand
You know what's the fastest way to make people turn on you at work? Being the person that says "That's not my job." Ugh. Instead, if your inbox allows it, always be willing to lend a hand to someone that's struggling with a deadline or with understanding a procedure. Those kinds of acts of kindness are never forgotten and builds camaraderie.
Lifestyle writer Christine Warner at lifestyle site Verily Mag, explained, "One of the key benefits of communities is shared knowledge and collaboration. Be open about your willingness to lend a hand. Generously share your expertise and skills, and offer to help your coworkers. Take time to invest in their professional growth and success." When someone helps you and shows that they want to see you succeed, you can't but help feel close to them. Here they are helping you, making sure you ace your job! Instant friendship.
5. Get To Organizing
Is your office a tad antisocial? Do you not have anything group oriented planned other than the Christmas party every end of the year? Well don't wait for a social committee to gather — you do the organizing! Get a group together and suggest you get happy hour after a long day of work, or throw out there that you're starving and see if a bunch of you want to try the Thai place down the road for dinner. There's a big chance at least a handful of people will agree.
Lifestyle writer Kat Boogaard at lifestyle site The Everygirl, pointed out, "There’s nothing stopping you from organizing a happy hour or another social laid-back activity that gets you and your fellow employees out of the office for some fun. So, take the initiative to organize something after work hours. Nothing brings people together like a few drinks and some appetizers." All it takes is a suggestion — it's super easy!
6. Become The Dependable One In The Office
There's nothing but fondness towards the dependable one in the office — for the one that finishes in time for her deadlines, does what she promises to do, and barely ever drops the ball. Be that person, and watch your relationships build. Career writer Erin Greenawald from The Muse, offered "Get a reputation for being incredibly dependable. That means, any promise you make — be it a date to finish a project, an appointment, or anything else — you keep." There's no negative feelings towards the person that does as she promises, and it does wonders for building trust and dependence.
7. Be A Positive Patty
After a long day of running circles around your boss or doing and redoing projects, it can be tempting to let out a rant in the rec room to anyone who will listen. But while that can be hella cathartic, relationships are better built over positivity rather than negative experiences. If you're the one in the office that takes hard days in strides and always has a positive thing to say about her work and efforts, people will better be able to connect with you because you bolster them up rather than bring them down.
Greenawald mentioned, "Are you tired after a long day, and still have more to do? Are you sick of one menial task you seem to be stuck with? Never whine about it, at least not in the workplace. Having a positive attitude about your work is critical to making other people think highly of you."
When you lift people up and are there for them with either a positive word or a helping hand, it'll be hard not to build a strong relationship with you. You've got this!