It’s normal to want friends at work—and it’s actually crucial to your career success. Because as I said, you spend most of your time on the job, so when you don’t like the people you work with, it makes getting through the day a lot harder. When you enjoy each other’s company, you’re bound to have a lot more happy (and productive) days.
But before you start making friendship bracelets, there are a few rules to getting buddy-buddy with your colleagues.
Don’t Push the Boss-Employee Relationship
I’m going to get real for a second: No matter how much you and your manager have in common, and how much fun you have together, he or she is still your boss.
This doesn’t mean you can’t talk about non-work stuff or spend time together outside of the office—it just means you have to be a bit more cognizant of what you choose to discuss. The same goes for being friendly with your direct reports.
Friendship doesn’t discriminate, but how you choose to hang out can. If, for example, your co-worker can’t do happy hour with the rest of the team because they have to pick up their children, be open to suggesting ideas that happen during the workday—say, substituting happy hour for lunch at your favourite restaurant. Or, if you know they don’t drink, plan to grab coffee rather than drinks.
Don’t Be Clique-y
Having a group of friends in the workplace is great! But you know what’s not so great? Being the adult who started a middle school clique in a grown-up office.
By only hanging out with a few people and not making the effort to get to know others, you’re likely alienating your other colleagues—and honestly, probably making your job harder in the process.
You may feel inclined to act a certain way in order to fit into the company culture and make friends.
As a result of being yourself, you may not click with everyone you work with, and that’s OK. As long as you find yourself in the company of people who like you for you.
Don’t Rush It
Like any friendship, the ones you make at work take time. You may be only a few months into your new role and wondering why you don’t have a work wife yet.
If you’re more than a few months in and still struggling, you should ask yourself some questions, such as: Are you attending optional social events? Have you asked anyone to grab coffee? Are you sitting at your desk all day with your headphones on? It could be that you work in an unfriendly office (and if so, I’m sorry!), or it could be that you’re unintentionally sending the message that you’re not there to make friends.
As long as you follow these (highly recommended) guidelines, you’re on the right track for forming meaningful connections with your colleagues—connections that won’t just make even the worst job bearable, but your life outside work better, too.
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