How to Make Friends in the Office if You're New to the Team
It's no wonder making the leap to a new job is one of life's biggest stressors. No matter the circumstances, you're essentially breaking up with one group of peers and moving to new digs. To make work comfortable and fulfilling, you'll need to quickly develop a rapport with your supervisor and new colleagues. Try these tips for making work friends when you're new to the team:
Show Interest In Others
When you first start a job, it's easy to fixate on the first impressions you're making. And while it's true you never get a second chance to make a first impression, most people are fairly self-absorbed. One of the best ways to make a good impression is to show an interest. Invest time in getting to know your coworkers by asking them appropriate questions about their lives. Don’t indulge in snooping, of course, but look at people’s desks for clues, and use them to start a conversation. For example: “Oh, does your son play soccer? Mine does too!” or “I love your dog calendar. Do you have dogs?” Show a friendly (professional) interest in someone, and watch your relationship grow.
Ask Someone To Show You The Ropes
Once you've been on the job a few days, identify a colleague or two who can "mentor" you as you adjust to your new surroundings. Offer to buy them lunch or coffee so you can ask a few questions in a more relaxed environment.
Take Part In Office Culture
No matter how long your to-do list is, one of your initial priorities should be to integrate with the team. So if everyone shoots the breeze around the coffee machine on Monday mornings, join the group. If you notice the department eats lunch together in the break room once a week, start brown bagging it.
Don't Say No To Invitations
If you're invited to an after-work happy hour and don't have a firm conflict—like a child care issue—make every effort to be there. You can say no later on, but if you say no the first time, you might not be asked again. Just like you need to invest time in learning your boss's preferences, you need to invest time in learning your colleagues' styles as well. (Just be cautious about drinking with coworkers, whether it's your first week on the job or your 400th. It's always fine to switch to soda with lime.)
Jump In To Help
As long as you're staying on top of your own responsibilities, your first few weeks on the job are an ideal time to establish yourself as a team player by volunteering for the not-so-fun tasks every office must face (think cleaning the storage room, etc.). Digging in to help with these annual chores will go a long way toward building positive connections with your new coworkers.
Be Positive And Open-Minded
Starting a new job gives you a chance for a fresh start, away from the personality conflicts that might have become grating at your old position. Be friendly and positive, and look for the good in your new coworkers. Don't allow yourself to get sucked into office drama or gossip. Don't ruin your honeymoon period or risk your reputation by getting involved before you know the lay of the land.
Above all, be yourself. You’ll be spending at least 40 hours a week with these people, so don't exhaust yourself trying to be someone you're not. If you have a weekend passion for underwater basket-weaving or competitive dog grooming, go ahead and mention it. You never know what new kindred spirit you might find at the office.