How To Develop Relationships in the Workplace

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  6. 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.


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