Making friends at the office isn’t always easy when you’re the newest addition to the team. Breaking into those inner circles takes a lot of time and effort. But if you’re smart about it you can quickly get over any fear from past failures and start building relationships that last for years to come.
This guide is going to show you the top ways to go about building bridges with people in the office.
Introduce Yourself in the Right Way
The way you introduce yourself to your colleagues will determine which foot the relationship gets off on. Too many employees waltz into the office and greet people with a simple wave of the hand and a mumbled greeting. It demonstrates a lack of respect and you’ve missed out on your first opportunity to get noticed.
The next best thing is to tell them your name and shake their hands. It’s good, but it doesn’t set the right tone for the relationship. You need to break through those walls. Begin by telling people a little about yourself, such as where you came from and what department you’ll be working in.
Anything to lighten the awkwardness of a first meeting will be much appreciated.
Avoid Anything Controversial
Conversation and idle talk is a part of working in an office. It’s easy to slip into difficult topics of conversation, though. Before you know it, you are already involved in a discussion that involves politics, religion, and general gossip. These topics are terrible for building relationships because they always bring up ill feeling.
Saying something ill-judged at any stage of the relationship can bring up a lot of bad feeling. And this will leave a bad impression, especially if you’re new to the office.
Topics at the office should be non-judgmental. It may mean sticking to more generic subjects, but at least this way you are not going to inadvertently hurt someone. Whenever you talk about something, think about how others are going to take it. Are you lifting them up or tearing them down?
Do your Job
You don’t want to spend too much time building relationships because it could come at the expense of your job. You can be the nicest person in the world, but it’s no good if you are letting the team down when it really counts. Nobody likes a slacker or someone who isn’t pulling their weight.
Focus on doing your job well. If you have trouble concentrating, try meditation. This will ensure that you are always doing the best you can and people are going to respect you. Respect is the number one building block for any relationship in the office.
Get to Know Your Colleagues
As time goes on, you should make an effort to know your colleagues better. In the beginning, they are likely to remain guarded because, after all, you are the new guy. But when you get the chance, engage in water cooler talk. Try to understand who they are and what makes them tick.
Try to find some common interests, even if it’s as simple as supporting the same sports team. Once you find some common ground, you can begin to expand and strengthen those relationships.
Take the Relationship Outside the Office
The office is a great place to make friends at work. At the same time, it’s also a place where it’s easy to not take the relationship further. If you only meet colleagues at the office, you are bumping up against a glass ceiling. To smash through that ceiling, try to organize a meeting outside of the office. This is something that only 32% of Americans say they would ever do.
It can be as simple as going out for drinks after work or spending lunch at a local restaurant. Don’t expect someone to make the first move. If you do, the chances are it will never happen. Go out of your way to invite people. The worst outcome is they say no.
Don’t expect firm relationships to happen overnight because people are making fewer friends in the office than ever. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to accomplish. But if you are smart about it and you persist with your relationship building efforts you are going to create some firm friends and you are going to improve the general atmosphere of the office.