Making office friends isn’t always easy. Everyone has their own style of working, and chances are you’re not going to mesh perfectly with each of your coworkers. You may even feel as though your coworkers don’t like you.
Walking into your workplace every day feeling this way is intimidating, to say the least. Use our tips for making office friends and learn more about what to do about tensions at work.
In this post, we’ll cover:
The first step to making friends at work is being a reliable coworker. You won’t make friends if you show up late to meetings, submit work late, or don’t complete tasks. Your coworkers are your teammates, and for the team to run smoothly, you all need to pull your own weight.
From this perspective, making friends at work is tied to your own performance. Ensure you aren’t letting people down, and always communicate clearly if you need to change a deadline or reschedule a meeting. The unexpected happens, but don’t make a habit of it. How would you feel about someone you work with if you couldn’t count on them?
Everyone has different styles of working and communicating. What works best for you may not work best for your coworkers, and, in some cases, the way you naturally communicate could be intimidating or off-putting to others.
If you’re naturally outgoing and bold in the way you communicate, you may unknowingly be intimidating your quieter coworkers. Or the other hand, if you’re used to a more laid back, less is more approach to communicating, someone may interpret your silence as an unwillingness to engage and establish a friendship.
You can’t expect new friends to come knocking at your door. If you spend all day in your office, including all of your breaks and over lunchtime, you won’t get the chance to engage with the rest of the office.
Make an effort to get out of your office for a coffee break and try to eat your lunch in a common area away from your desk. If you are going out for lunch, ask if anyone else wants to go with you. Slack is the perfect spot to communicate something like this. If you’re going for a coffee or tea, bring back an extra one that you can offer to your neighbor or the first person you see.
If your office runs team building activities, participate in them. If your office plans group activities, office parties, or other events, make sure you attend. Participating in these work events will give you a chance to get to know your coworkers outside of talking about work.
If your office doesn’t plan any social event outside of work, consider starting something small of your own. You could suggest going to a specific place for lunch together or going for an after work drink. Start with something small that isn’t a big commitment for people.
You may not have much in common with all of your coworkers, but chances are good that you’ll have something in common with some of them. Get to know your team a little better by listening and asking (non-intrusive) questions about their lives. It can be as simple as asking, “How was your weekend? What did you get up to?”
You might not hear about commonalities you share unless you reach out and ask. Ask in person or on Slack if anyone has read a book you like, or if they’ve seen a movie or television show you just watched. Ask about hobbies, sports, music, art, or food.
Once you make office friends, you face a new challenge of remaining productive around people you are friends with. This will be more difficult for some than others.
If you find that your productivity is dropping too low, it may be a sign you need to spend a little more time in your own office. If that’s not an option, consider using headphones for parts of the day when you need to focus on a task. Headphones are a universal signal that you’re unable to socialize.
It’s all about balance in the office. Team building is an essential aspect of a happy, cohesive workplace. It’s good for team dynamics to take the time to get to know your coworkers, but it’s also important to give yourself adequate opportunities for focused work.
Know your limits and set boundaries at work. You have your own deadlines to stay on top of no matter what engaging conversations are happening around the office.
Haters exist. Sometimes, there’s nothing we can do to snap them out of their negativity. If you have some haters around the office, you may not be able to change their attitude, but you can do your best to get along by focusing on what you can control. Maybe there’s a movie or sports team you can hate together?
Even if they’re not your favorite people, do what you can to not hold a grudge at work. Unlike regular friends, you are stuck with your work friends no matter what. You’re going to have to work together even if you’re not a fan of some people, so try your best to get along.
In the end, it’s way better to be working with friends over enemies. Consider what actions you can take to mend relationships and avoid conflicts.
Did you get a promotion before another person on your team? Do you complete tasks quicker than they do? Do certain work tasks come much easier to you? Look for signs of a jealous coworker if you feel tension in a relationship at work.
The negativity they are giving off could be coming from a place of jealousy or another emotional response they find difficult to control. While you can’t control this, you can ensure you always lead with humility around the office. Try not to boast about your accomplishments because you never know how that might make someone else feel.
Now we don’t mean to say jealousy is okay, but it can be tough for some people to control, and understanding where your coworker is coming from is the first step in mending or improving the relationship.
Maybe you’re the hater at work. If this is the case, you may have your work cut out for you. If you think you are disliked around the office, take some time to consider how you come across to other people.
If you are feeling unliked, consider your actions and interactions at work. Are you someone you would want to spend time with? Do you make others feel comfortable and welcome?
You can’t entirely control how other people feel about you, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to change someone's perspective. You do have control over yourself. You can be the best possible you inside and outside of the office. Changing people’s opinions will take time and consistent effort. Do what you can to make small changes to the way you behave at work.
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