Trouble Fitting In? 8 Ways to Make Friends at Work

By Brittney Helmrich, Business News Daily Staff Writer 

Do you have friends at work? If not, you may want to start reaching out to your peers.

Studies show that having friends at work can make employees more productive, motivated and loyal to the company they work for, according to New York Magazine. However, fitting in at the office isn’t always easy.

Business News Daily asked business owners and career experts for their advice on fitting in at work. From saying, “hi,” in the morning to offering to help with projects, there are plenty of small things you can do every day to help you make friends at work.

Whether you’re new on the job or you’re just feeling left out, here are eight tips for forging friendships in the office. [Quiz: Are You a Good Co-Worker? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself ]

Observe the culture first

“After you start your job, check out the spoken and unspoken rules for the ways that people operate in your new workplace. Listen carefully to what’s happening in your orientation and training period. And then watch and listen to how people interact (by email? Chat? Phone? In person? Video conference?), and begin to emulate other people.” – Laurie Battaglia, workplace strategist, Living the Dream Coaches

Say, ‘good morning’

“Take the time to say good morning each day. It always surprises me how many people complain when their co-workers don’t acknowledge them in the morning. For some employees, this can truly be hurtful and create a barrier between co-workers.” – Angela Copeland, career coach, Copeland Coaching

Be helpful

“The best way to fit in at work is to have your colleagues’ back. Step up and give an overwhelmed co-worker a hand with his or her project. Before you run down to grab a sandwich or coffee, ask if anyone else wants something.” – Lynda Spiegel, career coach and founder, Rising Star Resumes

Engage with your co-workers

“Making friends at the office is simple if you take the time to truly engage with your co-workers by asking them questions and being genuinely interested in the answers. Most people love to talk about their interests, their children, their families, and if given the opportunity will open up about what is important to them.” – Bob Faw, CEO, Matchbox Group

Recognize others

“As you would in a friendship outside of work, recognize your co-workers who have gone above and beyond for you or the company. We’re all hardwired to appreciate praise and reciprocate it. Additionally, as you develop a reputation for recognizing the work of others, more people will want to work with you, giving you more opportunities to foster those budding friendships.” –Kelly Quinn, HR manager, Nurse Next Door

Watch your humor

“Sense of humor is very personal, and it can take a while for others to understand yours. Don’t be too out there with your jokes. Especially salty or questionable jokes. First impressions count, and this is not the time for racist, sexist or derogatory humor of any kind.” – Lara Steel, director, Work Life Innovations

Avoid negativity

“Stay positive. Most people don’t like to be around those that are negative all the time. What’s more, researchers have found that if you say good things about other people, people tend to remember you as having those positive qualities, too. For example, if you tell a new co-worker that your previous boss is a friendly, helpful person, they will likely walk away remembering you as somewhat friendly and helpful, too.” – Keith Rollag, associate professor of management and author, “What to Do When You’re New: How to Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful in New Situations” (AMACOM, 2015)

Ask questions

“You must take the initiative to meet other people, even if you’re new to the organization. Talk about the weather, local teams and issues. If you’re new, ask questions. ‘Can you recommend a place to pick up a quick lunch?’ ‘Is there a walking trail nearby?’ ‘Where is the first aid kit?’ ‘What’s your favorite thing to do downtown [or] on the weekend?'” – Bonnie Scherry, director of corporate HR, G&A Partners

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