Look, I’m just going to be real with you here: after you graduate college it becomes so much more difficult to make new friends. Seriously! Think about it for a second. You no longer have your classes, student organizations, or residence halls that create the perfect environment for meeting new people. Chances are most people in your apartment complex will want to keep to themselves after a long day at work and social outings are far and few between if you don’t know many people. It’s why making friends at work is so important!
These are the people that you’re going to be spending most of your time with throughout the week, so regardless of whether or not you feel like you want new friends, you definitely need to take the time to get know them. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be working in an environment around people who are close to your age, which makes making friends at work easier.
But making friends at work can also come with some difficulties. It’s not the same as studying in your sorority house and making friends with the girl in the same class as you. Making friends at work requires active effort, especially at the very beginning of you working in a new job! It’s why you need to take advantage of every opportunity when it presents itself and make sure you’re following these five tips so you don’t miss out on what could be a great friendship!
Keep an open mind.
This is probably the most important piece of advice that I could give you for making friends at work. It’s something you need to take the time to actively remember and do as you start your new job!
Don’t let yourself get down about anything that you feel might hold you back. Remember: you’re in a completely new environment, with completely new people, all for whom making friends at work is a priority as well!
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It doesn’t matter if the people who you work with aren’t close to your age, or if you feel like you can’t relate to them, or if you feel like they won’t find you interesting. I want you to ignore all of that mumbo jumbo that your mind tells you! Making friends at work requires a positive mindset and for you to believe in yourself.
So even if you get discouraged, even if you let that little voice in your head get the better of you, keep an open mind! You got this.
Remember: first impressions aren’t always true.
Humans are gossipy by nature and, when placed in situations that make them feel uncomfortable or out of place, can say and do things they may not necessarily mean. Take me for example: if I had to title the movie about my life, it would probably be “That Came Out Wrong” (insert shrug emoji here).
So if someone rubs you the wrong way at first, give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t write them off over one careless statement or gesture! You never know how you’ll interact somewhere down the line. Take my friend group at work, for example. My best friend and I thought the other two were self-centered and “exclusive” of other people just because they befriended each other and stuck with each other, and they thought the same of us. And now we hang out all the time! As it turned out, making friends at work was easy once we dropped our misconceptions of each other.
And to go along with that, don’t feed into the workplace gossip, especially when you first start out. The person that you may be gossiping about has feelings just like you do and if you weren’t there when the story happened, you have no business trading secrets like social capital. It isn’t the reputation that you want for yourself and you don’t want to perpetuate a (probably) false reputation of someone else!Don't fall into the gossip trap when making friends at work. Try to get to know people for who they are, not what others say about them! Click To Tweet
Don’t eat lunch at your desk.
It totally get it, the possibility of eating lunch by yourself in the break room for all the see is scary. Especially when you’re just starting work! But I want you to quash those voices in your head saying things like “that’s just pathetic” or “no one will sit with you” and just go for it. Why? Because that voice is totally wrong.
Here’s the thing: if you’re not willing to put yourself out there, you’re not giving anyone the chance to reach out to you, either! And it makes making friends at work so much more difficult. No one is going to come to your desk and drag you to the breakroom. That’s a step that you have to take yourself. But once you’re there, you’ve opened yourself up to a world of opportunity to meet new people!Make sure you're giving other people the opportunity to talk to you at work if you want to make friends. Sit down in the break room and have a conversation instead of closing yourself off at your desk! Click To Tweet
And you have the best excuse to introduce yourself to whoever you want because, after all, you’re new! It’s as simple as walking up to a table and saying, “Hey, I’m new here. Would you mind if I sat with you?” And I can guarantee you that nobody will say no! Or, if you don’t want to take the first step, make sure you’re sitting at a table with plenty of space for people to come sit down. Chances are a friendly soul will ask to sit with you, too! And suddenly, the worst part of making friends at work is over!
Say yes to everything you’re invited to and actually go.
As a natural introvert this piece of advice really pains me, but if you’re serious about making friends at work it’s a must. Chances are there will be events hosted by your company, or the people you started with, or your coworkers that you’ll be invited to. Even if you don’t want to go, say yes and drag your butt there!
These people don’t know you well but they’re still putting in the effort to reach out to you. That counts for something! And if you’re constantly saying no to people right at the very beginning, chances are it won’t take them long to stop inviting you.
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So even if it isn’t your scene, even if you’d rather spend the night cuddled in front of the couch with a glass of wine, you need to make the personal sacrifice and get out there and go. Sure, you may not hit it off with the host, but who says you won’t meet someone there that you really enjoy? Making friends at work means having to take the opportunities that you’re given as they come!
Be willing to play host at least once.
It doesn’t have to be for anything big, but if you’ve taken people up on their invitations for get togethers, you should probably reciprocate the hospitality!
I know, I know, I can hear all the introverts groaning through the screen. But think of this as the ultimate way to make making friends at work easier! You don’t want whatever friendships you’ve started to cultivate to feel one sided. And if you’re not also proposing plans to the people you’ve started to hang out with then that’s exactly how it will feel!
Now, I’m not saying you need to host an extravagant dinner party or go on an expensive vacation. It can be as simple as inviting a few people to come see the newest blockbuster, or to go shopping during tax-free weekend, or grabbing coffee on the weekend! The important thing is that you go for it in a way that makes you feel comfortable.Making friends at work is a two way street. Try to make plans with people if they've made plans with you, it's a great way to reciprocate and show you want to grow a friendship! Click To Tweet