It’s really nice to have friends at work. We spend so much time at the office, it’s helpful to have some folks to pal around with while we’re there. Plus, we often have a lot in common with the people at work; even if the similarities only boil down to sharing the experience of the job itself. It can be helpful to talk to co-workers about what’s going on around the office or even in the industry. Often the people in our personal lives don’t really understand, or they’re not as interested as co-workers might be.
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Additionally, being well-liked by the people you work with could help you get ahead. Networking is a lot easier when it feels natural. Friends support each other, and having sincere connections to people in your office could certainly help you advance in your field.
But, no one ever said that getting along well with co-workers was easy. There are a few things to keep in mind though that could help quite a bit.
1. Do your job.
The first step toward getting along well with your co-workers is not giving them anything to hold against you in terms of how you do your job. If they’re always picking up your slack, covering for you when you leave early, or having to redo projects where you dropped the ball, they’re not going to be your biggest fans. So, do a good job. Work hard. Seek assistance when needed, but also be autonomous when possible. Do your job to the best of your ability and you’re sure to start to warming the cockles of those co-workers’ hearts.
Sometimes people talk a lot when they’re nervous, or they freeze up and can’t focus on what the other person is saying because their own thoughts about how they’re going to respond get in the way. But, being a good listener is a really helpful quality when it comes to making friends and building a good reputation among your co-workers. So, slow down and relax into your conversations at work. Really listen to what others are saying, ask follow up questions, and don’t interrupt. Listening is about making others feel heard, and when your co-workers know you make them feel that way, they’ll start coming to you for a chat (about work and about their personal lives too) more and more often. Before you know it, some real friendships should begin to bloom.
3. Be aware of the signals you send with your body language
Being a good conversationalist isn’t exclusively about the conversation itself. Body language can be really powerful. It can inspire trust, or scare people away without a single word ever being spoken. Remember to smile; it goes a long way toward making you seem more approachable. Sitting with your arms crossed, on the hand, sends the opposite message. Make sure that your movements as well as your words communicate that you are a genuinely happy and open person, and people will naturally gravitate toward you.
4. Don’t lean too much on shared woes.
Sometimes, people bond through talking about their problems. Or, they might even connect through talking negatively about someone else that they both know. This can be a particularly attractive trap to fall into at work. There is always something or someone to complain about, and all too often these are the words on the tip of our tongues. However, at the end of the day, negative people make for some of the most toxic co-workers, and ultimately it will alienate you from others. So, keep it positive.
When you were growing up, didn’t you think that the adult world was a lot more, well, adult?! It turns out that grown-ups can be just as cliquey and mean as high school sometimes. When you’re the new guy, take it slow. Don’t overwhelm everyone with your presence right out of the gate; give your co-workers a chance to get used to your presence, and don’t expect too much too fast.
“Coming into a new organization is like a step-parent coming into a family. Come in slow,” Andy Selig, ScD, a management and organizational psychologist told WebMD. “Don’t start parenting right away. We have to earn trust so people value what we have to say.”
6. Be yourself, but be your best self.
People tend to like spending time with those who seem genuine and sincere. So, it’s important to be yourself. Don’t try to impress others by putting on airs, instead stand firmly and confidently in your own skin. Remind yourself of all the wonderful things you bring to your relationships, and all of the skills you bring to your job. Stand tall and confident (but stop short of arrogance) and just be yourself. When you relax, others will too. When you show others the best version of yourself, they tend to reciprocate in kind. Also, don’t forget to have fun during these interactions. If you do, so will they.
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