Coworkers With Benefits: How to Make Workplace Friends

One of the workplace tenets I live by is to play nice. It’s important to never underestimate the value of being well-liked and respected in your workplace. Remember, other people control resources and opportunities. As such, professional relationships play a huge role in the job offers you get, the contracts you’ll win and in the opportunities you’ll be presented with. Here are a few tips to help you think more strategically about how to build more meaningful relationships at work.

1. Reach Out

One of the first tasks you will have in a new job is to understand your role. You can do this by reaching out to different coworkers you have interacted (or will interact) with and setting up some time to chat. Learn about their role and how their work fits into the company. If appropriate, ask about what brought them to the company and what their interests are. Initiating contact and showing interest in a coworker’s work creates a positive first impression.

2. Get Coffee

Invite coworkers you would like to get know better out for coffee. Feel free to ask questions about what they love about their job. A casual outing away from the office might be just what you both need to get more comfortable in conversation.

3. Seek Help

Being cognizant of what you don’t know and proactively asking for help is an awesome quality in a new hire. It can be difficult to admit a shortcoming and ask for help, but research tells us that asking someone for a favor makes them like you more. Doing someone a favor makes you feel good about yourself, which transitively extends to the person who asked for the favor. So if you are to ask someone a question or for a favor, thank your helper adequately. Chances are they will acquiesce and subsequently feel positively about you.

4. Get Involved

Many companies host several events for employees to get to know each other. Check these out; take the opportunity to mingle with the people you work with. Some companies will also arrange cross-functional teams to address different workplace issues. These are also good opportunities to interact with coworkers from outside your team. Working together to achieve a common goal is a great way to establish camaraderie with the people you work with.

5. Be Generous

Give credit where credit is due. If a coworker managed a project that had a successful outcome, shoot them an email to congratulate them on their work. One thing to note here is to refrain from sending people canned email messages. Try to call out your interaction with the coworker on the project and what impressed you about their work.

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