How to Make Friends at a New Job

Sally Painter
Meeting colleagues at work

Starting a new job requires your best effort, so making friends isn't always a top priority. However, once you've settled in and are more relaxed, you can focus on finding friends within your company. The best way to do this is to take a genuine interest in your fellow employees.

#1 Acknowledge With a Greeting

One of the best ways to make friends is to acknowledge co-workers. This includes security guards and receptionists. Get to know everyone you can, and greet them by calling them by their names. When you walk down the hall or through a department, greet everyone you meet with a simple "Hello," "Good morning," or "Have a good night." It's the small pleasantries that register with people, especially strangers.

#2 Bring Food for an Icebreaker

The most common icebreaker in any gathering, social or work, is food. If you make a signature dessert, prepare it the night before and treat your co-workers. This positive reinforcement has added benefits, it opens a discussion about food. You'll discover this is the easiest way to get to know fellow workers.

#3 Conversations During Lunch

businesspeople enjoying lunch together

Taking regular lunch breaks in the company lunchroom is a perfect way to meet your fellow employees. If you work in a team environment, you already know some people. Take time out during your lunch break to introduce yourself to others in the company or get to know your team members better. Engage in small talk and avoid topics like religion and politics.

#4 Coffee Breaks

Breaks are short, so most people head to the break room or lunch room for a morning or afternoon coffee. This is a perfect opportunity to have short conversations with fellow workers. Engage in a brief chat about things other than work. Most people don't want to discuss work during their break. Ask about their family or plans for the weekend, holiday or summer. Show an interest in them as individuals, just as you would with any friend.

Find Common Interests

Test the waters and see if you share any common interests with those in your department and then reach out beyond this circle. You might be lucky enough to find several in your team who share your hobby or sport.

#5 Lend a Hand

Take advantage of any opportunity to lend a helping hand to a co-worker. It can be as simple as helping unload a car of supplies, carrying something to a car, helping out on a project or volunteering to help with an upcoming company-sponsored event.

#6 Offer to Get Lunch

If your office or team order takeout, offer to pick up the order. This is a great way to establish that you are part of the group and will share in responsibilities. It's such a simple gesture that will go a long way to creating the bond you desire.

#7 Offer to Drive

When your team goes out to eat lunch or an off-site meeting, offer to drive. This is another great way to let team members know you are involved and committed to being a team member.

#8 Join the Company Sports Team or Club

Many companies have at least one sports team or some type of hobby/interest club. It may be a bowling league, a baseball team or scrapbook club. Ask before making any move so you understand any protocol for joining in. Once on the team or in the club, gradually get to know your fellow players. Some companies have a gym, so take advantage of this benefit and get to know others in the company.

Co-workers Turn Into Friends

The key to successfully making friends with co-workers is not to force friendships. Take things slowly and you'll gradually connect with like-minded individuals within your new company.

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How to Make Friends at a New Job