How to Make Friends at Work

February 3, 2016

Career Advice

9718507502_b4bd6b93b3_zHaving a great group of friends at work seems like it would be every employee’s optimum scenario. Who wouldn’t want a tight knit group to rely on, have lunch with, and vent to at work? Having a posse at your work can provide you with a couple important things:

  1. Support: It’s human nature to want someone to back you in your ideas, proposals, and work. It’s also beneficial to have constructive feedback from people you trust and respect.
  2. Increased productivity: If you are a person who enjoys people and gets your energy from them, you could see an increase in your productivity and ability to focus. Having a friend group at work may fulfill a social need for you that allows you to focus more when it’s time to get down to business.

On the other hand, here are a few things that make it difficult to make friends at your workplace:

  1. Pre-formed cliques: Try not to let a clique affect your mood or squash your efforts. Small groups can be difficult to penetrate at first if you don’t take your time and move cautiously. Don’t open up as quickly as you might want to. Give it a little time and let people learn about you.
  2. Your expectations: If you’re too eager and expect friendships to develop immediately, you may do the opposite: scare everyone away.
  3. Conflict between colleagues: If you inherit a team that is in the middle of any conflicts, it can be hard to truly learn about them. You may just be seeing the extremes and reactions to work or culture issues and be forced to choose sides on an issue you know nothing about.

When we look at the big picture, relationships are what make the world go around and since we spend the majority of our time at work, it only makes sense to be friendly with our fellow employees. If you have just started a new job or joined a new team at your work, don’t fret, it may take some time. Here are some tips for getting used to the team and helping them get used to you:

  1. Take it slow: Share information about yourself in bits and pieces. Too much at one time can turn people off. Also, you want to gauge this person as well. Trust happens slowly, not immediately.
  2. Reach out to them: People are very flattered when someone wants to know about them. Listen!
  3. Lunch/Coffee: Invite someone or a group out somewhere other than work. Putting things on neutral ground often changes people’s vibe and allows them to open up more easily.
  4. Treat everyone equally: Be careful not to befriend only one person at your work. This can put others on the defensive and make them wary of what looks like a clique or alliance.

Image via Salford University/Flickr

About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

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