How to Make Friends in and out of the Office
Jeff Hindenach | MediaBuzz
When we were younger, making friends was easy. School provides us with an instant pool of people our own age that we interact with on a daily basis, who are in the same boat we are. But once we leave college and enter the real world, finding friends can be a more difficult task, especially if you have to relocate for a job.
Whether in or out of the office, you are dealing with a myriad of ages, interests and personalities. So how do you sift through it all to find true friends? Here are some tips on how to make it happen.
Make Yourself Accessible
At the Office: The workplace can be a hard place to approach people. Cubicles are isolating by nature, which makes it hard to interact with your coworkers. Make an effort to show you’re a friendly person. Decorate your cube. Engage in office banter. Ask coworkers how their weekend was. Any excuse to interact with your colleagues will help show them that you are willing to make the effort to be friends.
Out of the Office: When you aren’t at the office, you don’t have a direct pool of people to interact with. The entire city is a pool of possible friends. The best approach is to simply be approachable. Be friendly. Smile and say hi as people pass. Strike up a conversation in the line at the grocery store or the bank. The friendlier you are, the more people will want to interact with you.
Reach out of Your Comfort Zone
At the Office: You can’t sit in your little bubble and expect people to approach you. You are going to have to handle some awkward social situations before you can find your work BFF. Take every invite to go out to lunch, even if you’ve brought your own. Attend every work happy hour. If your coworkers want to sing Love Is a Battlefield at karaoke, get up on stage with them. You need to show you’re a team player if you want to be included in their reindeer games.
Out of the Office: If you continue to go to the same bars or same places to eat, you are going to keep running into the same people. Branch out. Take a class. Start shopping at a different market. Go to a movie or dinner alone, or grab a drink by yourself. Strike up a conversation with the bartender. If you have social anxiety, and strangers scare you, try starting small, like chatting with the Starbucks barista you see every morning.