While work does not have to become your entire life, you do spend a significant amount of time there. Having positive relationships with your coworkers can make a boring job more interesting, and turn a job you like into a job you love. Being the new person at a job isn't easy, but everyone needs at least one office buddy!
- Smile like you mean it. Greet people when you cross paths in the halls. Make small talk in the elevator and the kitchen. Offer advice--or at least sympathy--when the printer jams. Small gestures like this seem inconsequential, but go a long way toward establishing you as a friendly, approachable person, which makes your coworkers much more likely to extend friendship to you in return.
- Make lunch time social time. If your department has a scheduled lunch break, tag along with a group, or ask one of your office neighbors to a restaurant you enjoy.
- Go with the flow. Attend company social functions, even ones as minor as Friday evening happy hour. You're not obligated to drink or stay out past your bedtime; just showing up for half an hour to make small talk gives the impression that you like your coworkers and want to spend a little time with them outside the office.
- Be a team player. If you're feeling pretty comfortable with your office relationships, try organizing a post-work get-together, or take charge of arranging a birthday celebration. This can take you from being a willing participant to being the source of fun, and really boost your popularity around the office.
- Know your limits. Those without strong social butterfly inclinations should not feel left out of the fun. Spend your break time in the office social hub--the break room or the coffee shop across the street--and have a chat with whomever comes in. Pop into other people's cubicles on your walk to the supply closet, just to say hello. You certainly don't have to throw parties to make a few friends on the job.
- Keep at it! You never know what you have in common with your coworkers if you don't talk to them! Eventually your efforts will pay off. Maybe you'll get offered a spot on the company softball team, or find out that the secretary loves kung fu movies as much as you do. It may take a few weeks of idle chatting and awkward smiles, but those 40 hours a week will go a little faster once you have friends to spend them with.