Considering how much time you spend at work, it’s obvious how much better having friends makes the experience. Not to mention how it’s a nice feeling when you have someone’s back, and they have yours. Bustle’s Raven Ishak has compiled nine tips for getting some new friendships going at work, whether you’re new on the job or just looking for more work pals.
01. Avoid office gossip
Friendship has so much to do with trust, and nobody wants to worry that you’re the type of person who talks behind people’s backs. By refraining from gossip, you show right away that you’re someone with whom it’s safe to let down your guard.
02. Do team-building activities
See if you can get some fun events going at work that’ll have you and your coworkers spending enjoyable times together. Maybe pizza parties at lunch or after work, or setting up a sanctioned “escape” room on-site.
03. Chat during breaks
Don’t spend your breaks alone. Try to hang out during coffee and lunch breaks, just chatting, just being. If people seem resistant, don’t push. Just be available.
04. Ask people about themselves
Most people enjoy talking, as the saying goes, “about their favorite subject: themselves.” You can get to know people better and help them enjoy talking with you by asking them about their lives in a noninvasive way. You can ask how their weekend went or offer a brief, relatable personal story as a natural transition to asking them if they’ve had the same kind of experience.
05. Keep conversations workplace appropriate
Especially as you’re establishing new relationships, keep conversations safe. While gently touching on outside life — see above — is OK, stay away from controversial topics. The last thing you want to do is cause tension with someone you’d like to befriend.
06. Invite people to hang with you outside the office
If you think someone might be amenable, invite them to happy hour after work or come up with something light and fun to do over the weekend. Often the ice can only really be broken away from work where people feel more free to be themselves.
07. Connect through humor
If you’re the type of person who can be funny, humor’s a great way to break the ice with someone. Just make sure it’s office appropriate, doesn’t assume agreement on politics or religion, and can’t be taken the wrong way.
08. Connect through social media
If people are willing to connect with you on social media, it can be the easiest gateway to a friendship. This is because you’ll learn what you have in common and see more of what the person is really like. It’s also a way to be in touch away from work (even if you’re on Facebook at work.)
09. Don’t compete
Nobody’s looking for trouble — what we want is support. Go out of your way to not compete with people whose friendship you seek. Try to identify common goals and succeed together.
Obviously, a little bit of cool goes a long way when you’re making friends. You don’t want to come off as desperate or make people think you’re a stalker. Relax, be yourself, and look for opportunities to apply the suggestions listed here in ways that feel natural and unforced.