Starting a new job comes with many challenges. From navigating your new role, learning about your organization, and impressing your new bosses, you’ll be quite busy in your first few weeks. But don’t forget about building relationships with your new colleagues and making friends!
Having friends at work not only makes the nuances of day-to-day existence better but will improve your mental health and productivity. Making friends as an adult isn’t always easy, but if you consider the following tips, you’ll be making new chums in no time!
Learn names and greet everyone
One of the easiest ways to get on good terms with your coworkers is to simply make the effort to greet them and treat them like unique individuals. Simply being friendly and showing an interest is the easiest foot in the door.
“A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” -author Dale Carnegie
Make an effort to learn everyone’s names and use them in conversation. Do this especially for people outside of your department or people you don’t often interact with. They’ll feel acknowledged and like you view them as a person rather than a fixture. TeamBuilding.com adds that even if you’re introverted, extending a simple “hello” or “good morning” is easy to do and has a lasting effect. Even if you’re not ready for small talk, saying “hello” sets up a foundation for later.
The above methods work because they show a willingness to be proactive—you’re actively taking steps to get to know the other person. To truly make a connection, you need to keep making these intentional efforts.
Fast Company’s Tracy Brower suggests asking someone to get coffee or sit down for a one-on-one is a great place to start. You can ask career-related questions and how to succeed at your organization before leaning into common interests and personal life talk.
The Muse’s Alyse Kalish adds that many larger offices will have interest groups or activities you can get involved with for more face time. These types of groups save you from coming up with an excuse to talk to your peers and can be a great place to let friendships organically develop.
Make use of common areas
If you want to be known, you’ll need to make efforts to be visible. It’s hard for someone to get to know you if you’re always sitting at your desk or have headphones in. If you work in an office, make an effort to spend time in common areas and be sociable.
Indeed says this can be as simple as eating lunch or grabbing coffee/tea in the cafeteria or break room or working in a common area. Be respectful of those just looking to enjoy their own headspace for a bit, but take advantage of the location to make small talk, off your help with something, or even bring in a treat for everyone.
If you’re working remotely, you can still create virtual gathering spaces by being present on your team’s social channels like Teams or create designated virtual hangout times.
“In a remote setting, it may be more difficult to connect with coworkers, which is why it’s so important to engage in non-related work conversations where possible. Share your personal experiences, memes, cooking recipes or whatever else it is that your coworkers are discussing.” –Joanna Zambas, CareerAddict
Offer assistance and elevate your team
If you really want to make friends at the office in a sincere way, simply being a good coworker goes a long way. Small talk can be filler or a way to simply coexist, but if you take the opportunity to genuinely offer assistance and offer credit where it’s due, your sincerity will be noted.
Don’t be shy about lending a hand, even if it’s just glancing over something or being willing to listen. Your coworkers will remember your willingness to help.
“Even if it’s outside of your job description, offer a helping hand to your colleagues before they ask. It’ll give you the chance to work with and meet other people, and they’ll appreciate your team-player mindset.” –Jimmy Okuszka, The Muse
Fortune’s Alexa Mikhail highlights the “hype person” as one of the best work friends anyone can have—someone who will celebrate others’ wins, give credit for great ideas and contributions, and be approachable. Work can be challenging, and we know an organization isn’t always truly on your side. So having someone there who genuinely believes in you and celebrates you makes the experience so much more rewarding.
You don’t need to be extroverted or the center of attention to quickly make friends at work. By making an effort to get to know your new peers, being present, and being a good team member, you’ll build a positive reputation and start a rapport with your colleagues. Those efforts will set a solid foundation for a friendship to blossom.