Do you find it difficult to connect with your co-workers? Do you often end up eating your lunch alone? Whether you make friends without any effort, or you have to work at it, these simple tips may help:
Be genuinely interested in others. Too many of us go through our days without paying attention to the people around us. Even when we are in a conversation, our minds are busy with our own problems. If you show interest in other people and actually listen to them when they speak, they will be drawn to you.
Be Yourself. When working with others, it is essential that you be yourself. As the expression goes, “If you are trying to make an impression, that is precisely the impression that you will make.” When you are being genuine, you are able to truly connect with your co-workers.
Remember the Golden Rule. Treat others how you would like to be treated. This rule is simple, but it is often forgotten. If you follow it, it will take you a long way. Some examples of the golden rule in the workplace are making sure that people are included in conversations, making new employees feel welcome, and offering assistance when your co-workers seem overwhelmed.
Smile. The act of putting a smile on your face can make a huge difference in the way that people perceive you. When you smile, people view you as friendly and are more willing to approach you.
Don’t be negative. Nobody wants to hang around a complainer. If you have an attitude that is upbeat and positive, people will naturally want to spend time with you. However, if you negative and pessimistic, people will tend to avoid you.
Maintain good personal hygiene. If you don’t maintain good hygiene, it doesn’t matter what else you do; people will stay away from you. If you shower regularly, wear clean clothes, use deodorant and brush your teeth, you’ll be off to a good start.
Be social. You can’t make friends if you spend all of your time in front of a computer. Get out there and talk to people. There are lots of people who would love to talk to you, but may be too busy or even shy to take the first step. Make it easy for them by starting the conversation.
Don’t get too personal. You can make people uncomfortable by asking personal questions or revealing too many personal details. Save these discussions until you are sure that your friendship has reached that level. When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution and keep things on a professional level.
Don’t gossip. When you talk behind a co-worker’s back, it reveals more about you than it does about your co-worker. While people may participate in your gossip, they will also identify you as someone who can’t be trusted and may not be very kind. Remember your mother’s advice. “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.”
Remember people’s names. People appreciate it when you remember their name. It tells them that you have identified them as being worth your time. If you use their name when you speak to them, you may find that they are a little more engaged in the conversation.
Address conflict in a way that is open and respectful. When working with others, sooner or later you are going to run into a conflict. It is best to address conflict directly, in a way that is considerate and respectful to your co-workers. Once your co-workers know that you are able to handle conflict professionally, they will be more comfortable working with you.
Negotiating your way through the politics at your workplace can be tricky. However, if you show humility, respect, and are helpful to your co-workers, you will be a welcome addition to any team.
(Written by Karen Bivand)