When you start a new job, it’s only natural to assume (or at least, hope) that your teammates will instantly become your best friends. OK, maybe not best friends—but that they’ll become people who you truly like seeing five days a week.
Of course, it’s difficult enough just to get established in your new job, without having to worry about making best friends. And with all of the knowledge that you’re trying to digest, making long-lasting connections with your teammates can seem impossible.
As someone who’s had a handful of jobs, I understand this challenge all too well. It’s why we threw the suggestion out to our users on Facebook to get their best tips. So many came in that we were inspired to compile them all into this very article.
1. Say “Hi”
I say hi to everyone.
Simple, yet effective. How many times have you hidden in the corner or under your desk on your first day?
I’ve lost count, too.
So, even though it might seem awkward, say hello to everyone on your team to start the day. Most people you meet will understand what you’re going through—and they’ll appreciate that you’re making an effort.
2. Ask for Help
Dad jokes. No, but seriously—I was able to make friends by asking for help...
Do you like when new employees act like they know it all? Yeah, me either. Asking for help is not only useful for all the obvious reasons, but it’s a simple (and effective) way to break the ice. And if you go into those conversations with a little vulnerability, it’ll be hard for conversation to not eventually turn to how you’re doing in the new role, and where you were before, and all the basic chit-chat that helps people get to know you better.
3. Feed Your New Teammates
A box of donuts or cupcakes is always a good ice breaker, or a candy dish on your desk will inspire interaction.
In one of my favorite episodes of my favorite TV shows, one of the extras brings snacks to work to share and earns a funny nickname: Food Guy. Muse readers think this is a great way to make friends at work in real life, too. In fact, three people told us about times they tried it—and all of them told us that it worked really well.
4. Just Be Nice
Be nice to everyone. I don’t care if you’ve been hired as CEO or queen of the universe—a humble, positive and cordial attitude goes a long way.
Here’s the thing—some tips look great on paper, but are way harder to apply to real life than they seem. But here’s one that shouldn’t be so tough: Just be nice to everyone.
Everyone around the office has been in your shoes at some point. They’re probably way more empathetic to your plight than you realize. That’s why when one reader responded by saying “be nice,” we couldn’t think of a better approach to making friends at work.
Making friends in any context is never easy. And it’s even more challenging when you’re not showing up to a bar, but rather to a job, in which your primary responsibility is to do your job. But a few simple tricks could help you make a few new friends that much faster.
Photo of people talking courtesy of Hoxton/Tom Merton/Getty Images.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.More from this Author