According to years of research by the Gallup Organisation in Minneapolis, having an office friend results in the employee being seven times more likely to remain engaged in their job. It doesn’t even have to be a best friend – Gallup found that even people who had a good friend at their workplace were more likely to be satisfied, increasing their productivity levels. Here are some ways to make sure you give yourself a chance to be a part of that world.
FIND THE MEETING POINT
Every office has a gathering point, where people hang out and chat, like at the coffee vending machine or water cooler. Figure out when the colleagues you’d like to break ice with hang out there, and make an effort to get there around the same time so that it gives you a chance to speak to them. Says IT professional Srilatha Bala, “I have two good friends at work because of those well-spent 4 pm coffee breaks, even though I am not fond of the drink.”
OFFER A SNACK
The way to your colleague’s heart is through his or her stomach. Akshit Paramasivam, HR manager at an IT firm in Chennai, says, “I paid attention to my colleagues’ dietary preferences – Jain, diabetic, etc, and offered them snacks I knew they’d like. It helped build camaraderie.”
No one likes to be around someone who is always serious, irritable or in a blue funk. Make sure you stay cheerful and communicate pleasantly with your colleagues whenever you can. Compliment them if they are looking nice, or if they have done a job well. But be genuine about it.
You would not want to make friends with those interested simply in gossip and politics. Ashi Malik, career counsellor says, “Keep your interactions and conversations clean, and you’ll attract the right kind of friends. Focus on saying something nice about the workspace, and spreading goodwill.” Hannah Thangadurai*, a freelance proofreader, says, “I lost out on some really good friends and made a bad impression at my last workplace because I hung out with the wrong crowd. I’ll be more careful the next time.”
STEP OUT FOR A MEAL
“Suggesting new restaurants in the vicinity to try at lunch always works wonders,” Malik says. Choose a restaurant that you know will be appealing, and take suggestions from your co-workers into consideration. Make your outing pleasant, use it well to get to know your colleagues, and give them the chance to get to know you as well.
Work buddies we love
These TV friendships trump romances any day
The Mindy Kaling Show: We love the humorous banter and loyal friendships that Mindy has with each of her co-workers.
The Office: This is human eccentricity and office politics at its harmless best.
Parks And Recreation: Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins are each other’s biggest cheerleaders – it’s adorable.
Grey’s Anatomy: Meredith Grey’s close relationship with her co-residents/competitors is inspiring.
If you’re an introvert…
If you’re too shy to initiate conversation, start an email thread or Whatsapp group to break the ice. It’ll make talking to people easier.
Attend work events and outings, which give you a chance to observe people outside the office and gauge who you are comfortable with.
Conquer your fear of rejection. Be prepared for the fact that some will like you, some won’t, and some may not be polite about it eEnsure that you do not overwhelm new colleagues with your exuberance.
Don’t be offended if someone wants to ‘stay home tonight’ instead of hanging out with you. It’s not personal.
Use your charm to draw out the reserved ones. They will appreciate your effort and you’ll befriend them soone