Having a full-time job often means spending more time with your co-workers than with your friends and significant other.
Rather than lament your lack of a social life or the fact you’re too tired to do much after a long day, build better bonds with the people you share office space with. It might seem like a daunting task but making friends at work can be easier than you think.
Start a team or club
One of the best ways to get people at work to mingle and get to know each other better is to create a way for them to be together outside of work – e.g. a sports team or club. Whether it’s baseball (something most people are comfortable playing), touch football, book club or cooking club (everyone brings a themed dish to someone’s house each month), there’s bound to be a common interest among co-workers. Ask around or take a poll about what people would be interested in and then make it happen.
Real women speak: “I didn’t start a club, but one of my co-workers started a weekend baseball league and we play every Sunday. I’m horrible at baseball but it’s been a great way to get to know the other people in my office.” Sarah, 39, Boulder, Colorado
Organize after-work drinks
Especially now that it’s warm out (aka patio season), getting people out for a pint or cocktail after work shouldn’t be too hard. It’s even more ideal if there’s someplace close by you can all walk to. Being outside the confines of the office makes it much easier to loosen up and get to know the people you work with.
Real women speak: “I’m really shy so I had a hard time getting to know people in my office, but when someone started a weekly drinks meet-up every Friday at the pub around the corner from us, I realized I worked with some really great people. It’s been a year and we still meet up every Friday!” Briony, 28, Newark, New Jersey
Talk about things other than work
Talking about work while at the office makes sense – you’re at the office, but it will never allow for closer bonds or even finding out more about your co-workers. Make a point to talk about yourself, offer anecdotes about your life and ask co-workers questions about their lives as a way to create a connection. Chances are if you open up, they will too.
Real women speak: “When I go out for lunch with the other girls in my office, I try not to talk about work. We will if there’s something pressing but otherwise we talk about our families, our boyfriends and other non-work stuff that’s a lot more fun!” Sandi, 24, Jacksonville, Florida