Randee Stever has been writing for pleasure since she was 10 years old. She recently started freelance writing for business and beauty and hopes to continue on this path of working in a field she loves.
Icebreakers to Help Make Friends At Work
Most of us will spend a great deal of our lives at work (up to a third of our lives) so we really should put as much effort into our work relationships as we do in our personal relationships. Working professionals spend so much time at the office that it has become almost a requirement that employers find ways to ensure that their staff have a pleasant time there. Work culture and corporate incentives aside, no office place is going to be satisfying without at least a friend or confidante there to help buffer against the stress of work and office politics.
Research shows having friends in the workplace is beneficial in more ways than one. Office friendships don’t just make work more enjoyable; it also helps you engage better with the company. Studies have shown that the more friends an employee has at work, the happier and more productive they are, and the less likely they are to want to pursue another job.
Creating friendships at work is clearly very important, but making those friends can be a bit trickier. Here are several tried and true icebreakers to help you make friends at work:
Start with simple gestures. Friendship often starts with simple gestures that show your genuine interest in someone. It can be as simple as saying good morning when you walk into the office or offering to bring your co-worker a coffee when you get up to make one for yourself. Your friendliness won’t go unnoticed and will be sure to help break the ice.
Bring in food. Food is always a great icebreaker, no matter the situation. Bringing in some baked goods, homemade or store bought, is always appreciated and a great way to introduce yourself to new co-workers. Just make sure that whatever you bring in isn’t something that has a strong odour, which can offend some people.
Look for opportunities to join in. There are always opportunities to participate in conversation with your peers, but you must first make the effort. Jump in when colleagues are discussing a big game, a blockbuster film, or a great new restaurant. Engage with co-workers the next time you’re traveling to a meeting together. Some employers and workplaces make opportunities for social interaction easier by offering social events or special interest groups like reading groups or cycling clubs that you can join.
Start a walking group. Another option is to start your own social group. People often want to stay fit, especially if they’re spending most days sitting at a desk, but have trouble finding the motivation to get started. Start a walking group and get active for 30 minutes every day during your lunch break. This way, you get to make new friends at work and stay healthy, all for free.
Find common ground. Pay attention to the conversations around you and try to find common interests. If someone just came back from a vacation to somewhere you’ve also been, you can easily strike up a conversation about the location. If you notice someone has a gym bag, ask for tips on their workout regime. Find out what your colleagues are interested in and ask them about it. It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to build rapport.
Ask for advice. Everyone likes to feel as though they’re helpful and a great way to break the ice and make friends is to ask for advice. It shows that you respect your co-worker’s knowledge and opinions and it’s a great way to start a conversation.
Making new friends at the office is important for a happy work life, but remember, it’s important to maintain certain boundaries when it comes to making friends at work. The relationship at the office still needs to remain professional. Always keep it positive. Another thing to keep in mind is to be wary of how much personal information you give out. While sharing personal information can help build rapport, too much personal information can scare people away. In the beginning, it’s best to focus on general interests before you move into more personal topics. Save that for after your friendships grow and develop.