The average American spends about 30% of their life with their coworkers. This often rivals time spent with a significant other throughout one’s 30s, 40s, and 50s. Given the amount of time you spend at work, getting to know your coworkers could lead to a much more comfortable 30% of your life. Here are three easy ways to get to know your coworkers!
Start with some casual coffee talk in the break room. Ask people about their weekends. You can find important information out about people like this. Do they have pets? Which city do they live in? Are they married? Offer information about yourself so that they can learn about you too. Saying “I went out to dinner with my wife’s parents on Saturday at the steakhouse down the street” offers a lot more personal information than “I went out on Saturday night.” Be specific! People care to know more about others but are often scared to ask, not wanting to come off like they are prying. Start with positive conversation topics to get to know your coworkers. Although communal suffering can be easy to talk about and appear to lead to quick bonds, avoid complaining about work or other coworkers to get closer to someone. If you must complain, make it about the weather or something a little more lighthearted and not company-related.
Make Invitations Clear
It is essential that intention and boundaries are clear with coworkers. When asking to spend time with a coworker outside of work, it is best to keep things light and comfortable. Sometimes this means inviting more than one person or keeping alcohol out of the mix. It all depends on the situation and who you are dealing with. Keep things platonic. Be careful not to put any of your coworkers in a position where they wonder if you are asking them on a date. Stay friendly and keep boundaries. This Indeed article gives a few helpful pointers on work friendship boundaries.
Creating cliques in the workplace can be very damaging to the office’s culture. Be sure to include others in outings with coworker groups. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone in your office, but intentionally leaving people out will only lead to bad things for the office. Be open and make fun happen.
Make the time you spend at work enjoyable. Get to know the people you spend 40 hours a week with and make that time both social and productive!