How to make friends at work: Workplace friendship is easier than you thought
Besides the reward of friendship, making friends at work can have a lot of benefits. From being well connected to having someone watch your back in meetings, the advantages of having friends at work are many. If you regularly find yourself in a cold corner in your office floor, here are tips that you can use and learn how to win friends and make office buddies for life.
1) Bring something for everyone in your office every once in a while
Whether it is a bag of lollies, biscuits, Tim Tams, Hershey's or a box of doughnuts from Dunkin' Donuts, it'd be nice if you got your office colleagues a little something every now and then. Food is a sure shot way of letting your office mates know that you are putting in a genuine effort to be friends with them and that you care about them. And best of all, if you consider yourself an amateur baker, why not bake a lot of your best brownies or cookies for your friends at work?
2) Sympathize with your colleagues at work
Everyone at work has his/her own share of problems. There are really no exceptions. If you want to make friends at work, you must learn to sympathize with fellow colleagues and help them out in whichever way you can. For example, if your colleague is going through a rough patch with her husband and her marriage is on rocks, don't hesitate in asking if you can temporarily help her out by picking up some of her daily tasks. Genuine sympathy never goes unnoticed and a work place is no different.
3) Work for your team, not for yourself
While it is easy to get carried away and think about your own benefit all the time, you should remember that your progress at work lies in the progress of your team mates and vice versa. If you go out of the way to help your colleagues at work, they will hopefully reciprocate by crediting you for their success. And after all, don't we feel deeply for the people who want us to succeed in life?
4) Go out for lunch with your colleagues
We all love to have lunch buddies at work, don't we? That's exactly why you should make an attempt to go for lunch with the people who you want to be friends with, at work. A chat over lunch will not only allow you to be better friends with your work mates, but will also provide a window of opportunity for you to catch up on all the latest gossip at work. So catch up with a buddy at work for lunch, whether it is in the office cafeteria or at the neighborhood take away joint.
5) Involve your colleagues in your life outside work
Involving your colleagues in your life outside work is one of the first signs of trust and friendship that you can give out. Tell your work mates about your family, tell them about your relationships, tell them about the problems you face in your personal life and tell them what you've been up to outside the confines of the walls of your office. Your colleague will feel connected to you in a more than just professional. For all you know, you may even find your next best friend right in your workplace! However, make sure that you share only things that are most appropriate to be shared in an office environment. The last thing you want is to be the laughingstock of the office just because you told your colleagues all about how you and your partner are having troubles in bed!
6) Indulge in office gossip
Isn't it an irony that we are talking about something as unprofessional as gossip, while we talk about work? While your management textbooks may ask you to entirely stay away from gossip, the real world can be a bit different. You can make very good friends at work if you share gossip and other some such with your work colleagues. Call it what you want, rumor, gossip or information about other colleagues, everyone likes to keep up-to-date with the happenings on the workplace floor. In no times, you will have a group of friends with whom you can share your office secrets and likewise. Only advice is to choose your office gossip buddy very, very carefully. A wrong more can get you reprimanded or ever worse, fired.
7) Be human - Have an opinion
If you really want to make friends at work, don't be afraid to have an opinion or voice out how you feel, even if it means being grumpy at times. While most management gurus and books will tell you to carry a positive attitude at work all the time, that may not go well in helping you be popular at work. Your work mates expect you to have a mind of your own and more importantly, expect you to voice your opinion. If you are going to hold a poker face all the time, you may seem like your boss' puppet who only does what the boss says.
Now before you even start having loud opinions of your own, you must realize that 'having an opinion' is different from having a 'knee jerk reaction'. Opinions can be worded and carefully orated to your advantage. On the other hand, a knee jerk reaction can be professionally disastrous.
8) Dress well and keep yourself well groomed at work
Do you carry a disheveled look at work often? Do you dress sharply or appropriate to your job profile? Do you generally look smart and well groomed at work? All these questions point to one thing. Looking smart and well groomed is the way to go when we talk about professional environments. Nobody wants to be around the guy who dresses weirdly or the guy who appears like he's just gotten out of bed. On the other hand, if you dress sharply and are well groomed, your colleagues will not mind hanging around with you in the office.
9) Work harder and smarter - Be an achiever
Working hard and working smart has never gone out of vogue, and never will. If you really want people to acknowledge you as a person of value and worth being friends with, one of the most straight forward ways to do so is working smart and becoming an achiever. Becoming street smart will also help because everyone wants to be around someone who can get the job done.
Yes, there are classic cases where a hardworking employee may not be popular amongst his/her peers. But then again, a lot boils down to the individual's personality and the other things that we've talked about in here. So if you think that you don't have a repulsive personality and can speak properly, by all means, be an achiever. Friends, fans and admirers will automatically follow. After all, everyone wants to be friends with the guy who has the vital connections and important contacts!