Your co-workers can be a source of frustration if you hate them. You don’t get to choose them, but you end up spending 7-8 hours a day with them. If you have work friends in your co-workers, life becomes so much better.
Work friends can increase your productivity. According to a study done in the insurance industry, workplace friendships in one’s social network is positively associated with supervisor ratings of job performance. These relationships enhanced job performance through building trust.
These ten tips will help you create friendships at work so your work becomes much more pleasant. Work friendships can even help you manage stress at work. You may even start looking forward to workday in order to see your work friends.
1. Don’t Push the Boss-Employee Relationship
The manager-employee relationship can be complicated. While you don’t want to come across as a kiss-up, you definitely don’t want your boss to be an enemy either. After all, the manager has to evaluate your work ethic and ensure that you are productive.
Make the manager-employee relationship easier with the following actions:
- Always be polite to your manager
- Meet deadlines
- Be an indispensable team member
- Take advantage of the work social opportunities
- Earn their trust
Bonding with your boss may not be on the top of your list of things to do. However, having a good relationship with your manager or supervisor can make work more enjoyable.
2. Be Considerate
Consideration for other people is the basis for good manners. You adjust your actions and words to accommodate other people’s feelings. For example, picking up after yourself can show consideration to your co-workers. You may want to provide the break-room coffee once in a while.
Your co-workers will notice these small acts of kindness in the office. People are far more interested in becoming friends with others who are considerate.
Other ways to be considerate at work:
- Apologize for your mistakes
- Be polite
- Anticipate the needs of others
- Be patient with your co-workers
3. Avoid Cliques
You hated cliques in high school, don’t join one at work. It can be easy to gravitate towards the people who are most like yourself. Being part of a clique at work often means that you are not getting to know many of the other people there.
Cliques often form as a part of self-preservation. People tend to get together with others that have common interests and complaints. One of the biggest downsides of a clique is that they get stuck in complaining mode. This generates a lot of negativity.
Often people are excluded from cliques. This is unfortunate because everyone has something valuable to offer.
How can you avoid being part of a negative clique at work?
- Make an effort to be friendly to everyone
- Be inclusive with your co-workers
- Be willing to listen to your co-workers
4. Be Yourself
No one likes to interact with someone who is putting on a show. People can often tell when you are being insincere. When you are at work, be yourself. You’d be surprised how many other people will be able to relate to the real you.
That’s a surefire way to gain a few work friends.
Being yourself at work will help you to make work friends because they will get to know the genuine you. When you are yourself at work, they know who to expect when they invite you to a social activity outside of work.
Ways to be yourself at work:
- Be willing to be rejected
- Speak up for what you need (Don’t simply complain about not having it)
- Don’t be afraid of being different at work. Everyone has their quirks!
5. Let it Develop Naturally
Friendships don’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort to build trust. Some personality types may take a bit more time to develop friendships. Extroverts may be excited to meet you and interact with you. Introverts may want to build trust with you first before interacting outside of work.
If you try to force a work friendship, you may be viewed as having underlying motives. Co-workers may see the efforts as trying to get ahead and beat them out for the next promotion.
If your co-workers aren’t responding to invitations for lunch or socializing, let it go and move on. They could simply be stressed out or having a bad day.
6. Spend time together – Lunch, Coffee, Summer Work Picnic
Spending time together is how friendships form. Activities outside of work can help you really get to know your co-workers and become friends with them. You can discover similar interests and common ideas when you eat with your colleagues.
Great ways to spend time with co-workers:
- Eat lunch together
- Have a co-workers’ coffee break
- Go to the summer work picnic
- Enjoy happy hours together
7. Have a Regular Happy hour
A work happy hour is a great way to relax and get to know your co-workers. It gives you the opportunity to spend time outside of the office. If your company doesn’t already have a happy hour, you can be the one to start it.
It is simple to get a workplace happy hour going. Here are the steps:
- Decide on a day of the week to have it (It can also be a monthly happy hour.)
- Pick a time to meet. Give a few minutes for your co-workers to get there
- Pick a location that is near your work to meet that will accommodate your crowd
- Make it optional. Not everyone will be able to show up all the time
- Send an email out to the entire office (You don’t want to leave people out.)
- But be careful about not to spam in this process
- Engage in non-work conversations at the bar or restaurant
8. Random Acts of Kindness
Doing random acts of kindness can not only put you in a good mood, it can make your co-workers’ day. Random acts of kindness increase your chances of becoming friends with others in your workplace as well.
Here are some random acts of kindness ideas that are great for the workplace:
- Bring coffee for your co-workers
- Bring in a treat for the break room
- Offer to help co-workers with difficult projects
- Offer advice when co-workers are struggling
- Ask new employees to join your lunch group
- Picking up lunch? Ask your co-workers if you can get them something
- Praise your co-workers when they are doing well
9. Add them to Your LinkedIn Network (or even Facebook)
Linkedin is a great place to network and find jobs. Some people who are starting a new job may not think about adding their co-workers to their network. A LinkedIn request can validate that you are friends with a person and that you would give them a referral when they ask.
Adding your co-workers to your LinkedIn network shows that you trust them. You can also offer to write a recommendation for them on their profile. This will help to establish trust in a workplace friendship. Not to mention, it could also help them get an even better job in the future.
Facebook is often reserved for family members and friendships that aren’t formed at work. If you find that you are spending more time with your work friends, adding them on facebook can enhance your friendship as you may discover they share online interests that you have as well.
10. Be Friendly – Smile
Smiles are a universal sign of happiness. People are drawn to those who smile. Smiling at work can help lift your own mood.
When you smile at a person, it coaxes them to return the favor. This can create a symbiotic relationship as you both release feel-good chemicals in your brain. Smiles also activate the reward center of your brain and increase attractiveness.
It is a simple way to improve the mood at work while increasing your chances of making work friends.
Finally, these tips are not exhaustive. You have to improvise as the situation demands. But one thing is sure – more work friends definitely means increase in your (& their’s as well) level of happiness at work.