How does one make friends at work?
Most people would naturally assume that i’m just some super genial, fantastic, awesome-type dude (I did not pay these people for this opinion. I’m surprised too!). However, this may not be the actual case. I mean, I do have my moments, but I’m not going to say that I can agree or disagree with either side. The lovers love me, and the haters gon’ hate.
In college, I guess it was a little bit more easily defined. You either spent lots of time secretly stalking someone, until you got the courage to start up a study group (oh, was that just me? Dammit, I give away way too much information in this blog.). Usually something really simple, like cracking a joke in class, or affirming someone who actually had the balls to say something funny in class. People bond over things that are snarky, like judging the person who is always volunteering their 2 cents, no matter how off base they might be. Of course, the easiest way to make friends was just to get involved in some kind of extra-curricular. The chess club is a a great place to find solid friends! Actually, now that I think about it, the easiest way to make a friend in college was this classic line: “have we met before? my name is <insert name here>, nice to meet you. This is especially useful at a place like UC Davis, where the city is tiny and the school composes like 89% of the town.
Now then, outside of school it poses a little more of a problem. I can assume that you’d most easily make friends in your most frequented spots, doing your favorite activites. Unless you’re insanely popular, this might mean your workplace. I do know a lot of people who are rather opposed to this idea. Work and fun should be left completely separate. What is
a loser an introvert to do? There might be some criteria to keep in mind. It’s quite possible that you might not be able to sail through smoothly. I know, that sounded like a personal attack. No one should doubt your tenacity and the sparkling caliber of your personality (how dare I overlook that! I’ll be severely punished later). Here are a few things that I have tried in my endless pursuit of being understood accepted loved tolerated respected noticed included.
I’m going for the dirtiest tricks first. Being kindly to people is always a nice way to develop a long lasting and meaningful friendship. This can start with bringing a co-worker a weekly beer. Everyone likes alcohol, and no one hates the hand that keeps them running on the sauce. Let’s be real, if I’m willing to trek from one side of the office to the other with frosty refreshment for you, I really can’t be all that bad now can I? NOPE. This makes you alright in most people’s books. If they don’t drink, you shouldn’t fret. There are other ways in which you can win friendship through servitude. Just yesterday, I tried to cement a friendship I had been working on for weeks, by a small purchase. She likes maple bars, but never is able to find the right one. I found her a maple bar on the way to work, and left it on her desk. EASY PEASY.
Small purchases are awesome on 2 fronts:
- They show that you have good intentions, and were thinking about the other person.
- Small purchases make you seem like less of a stalker than a random expensive gift. (What the hell made you think that she wanted a tennis bracelet or a 30 dollar lunch? She barely knows you… CREEPER)
Another good way to make friends with folk is through random interactions. There is always something. A company party, a Friday night kickback, some sporting event. If your job sponsors such fanciful post-work activities, you should be down for participating. No one gets hurt by hanging out. If you’re part of some kind of club/collective, you can make sure that you’re there for the fun times. Again, just being in a place with people will really increase your chances of talking to folk, which increases the chances that you’ll find something in common with someone. Finding something in common with people is a rock solid ice breaker! You might as well have a “Let’s Be BFF’s!” shirt on (unless you’re a heavily dedicated watcher of a polarizing show like Glee or Jersey Shore). I don’t have anything against either of these shows, just for the record. I happen to not have cable, so Jersey Shore isn’t really on my agenda.
Common interests lead to random, life giving conversations. You might be in the company kitchen, awaiting the hallowed arrival of the weekly breakfast bagels or just in line for the newest brew of your company’s delicious house coffee. These are great times to strike up conversation. Not only do you get a great chance to continue the process of waking up (that so hastily commenced with the stupid alarm clock blaring it’s praises to you) but you might be able to get a lay of the land before things start up.
Lunch times are a great way to get to know people and establish future fun times. Everyone has to eat right? You can corner the market by inviting a co-worker to lunch! Even better, instead of just eating at your desk, you might want to go over to the communal lunch area (or local bench) and see what’s up! Who can turn down the chance to learn more about someone while eating a delicious meal (maybe like, I don’t know, a Kimchi burrito? mmmMMMM!!!!). Invite a group of people to check out a local eatery and you have a social gathering that’s on and poppin’! Food is also a great distraction for awkward moments. Eerie silence sprouting over your conversation? Wow, look, my mouth is empty and I have 8 quality bites left with my burrito!!! Instant exit plan from said awkward situation. You’re welcome, full, and totally cool.
This is a really underrated trick. Many office workers forget to put on their smiles. I mean, they are at work (hopefully, your place of employment is a joy to be at and not the bane of your existence). Walking around and being friendly to people is a great way to
suck people in disarm people’s inhibitions and fears. Oh man, there were many people who I at one time thought really wanted me dead, or just hated life, because their glares could cut through even the most happy soul and leave emo wounds all over the place! *shudder* I’m sorry that went so dark. It HAD to be discussed. Don’t be one of those people, no one likes those people, and they don’t get invited to things (I thought we spoke about this… You’re setting yourself up for failure). Yelling and cursing is not inviting and warm. GET IT TOGETHER FUCKER! STOP BITCHING OUT AND BE A DAMN NICE PERSON, SHIT!
oops. I got a little out of control there. *ahem* I’m good.
Now then, trying this tactics, you should have great success with creating friends out of co-workers. My advice is always evolving and growing. I’m constantly trying things out and trying to win people over. 60% of the time, it works every time!
Try it… What have you got to lose? You enjoy those lonely nights in your basement with Glee? (DAMMIT, I said I wasn’t going to make this entry personal. FAIL)