Spending all day with your coworkers doesn’t exactly make you friends. In some cases, it can even make you enemies. How do you make the leap from casual work-time acquaintance to friend outside the office? Use these tips to learn how to socialize with your colleagues so they become more than just a 9-to-5 buddy.
Head to Happy Hour
Perhaps this tip is obvious, but one of the best ways to socialize with your coworkers outside the office is at the bar. Head to a local happy hour to unwind after a long day. While the conversation might begin with venting over the day’s frustrations, try to turn it to more personal topics, such as your family or hobbies. That way, you can get to know each other for more than just TPS reports and emails.
Take Your Breaks Together
If you really want time to chat about life outside the office, consider taking breaks or meals with your coworkers. Instead of chatting about the mountain of work you have for the day, bring up your favorite music, breaking news stories, or even the weather. The change of subject will give your brain a break and help strengthen your bonds with your pals.
Don’t Be Fake
Science shows that being social at work can actually benefit your career, so it’s important to try your best to interact with others. However, never put too much pressure on yourself to be outgoing, as this can make you come off as fake. Not only can inauthenticity drive others away, but it can also have big ramifications for your professional aspirations.
Maintain Other Friendships
Having friends you work with is great, but they shouldn’t be your only friends. At the end of the day, you always need to maintain a certain level of caution with workplace friendships. You need to be careful what you say or complain about, just in case your words make their way to your boss. That’s why having friends you don’t work with is great. You can vent to them all you want without the fear of getting in trouble.
Understanding and navigating the social hierarchy of the office doesn’t need to become a full-time job in itself. If you’re struggling with being social, just relax and be yourself.
Smith, Jacquelyn. “How Much Coworker Socializing Is Good For Your Career?” Forbes, Forbes Media LLC, 24 Sept 2013, https://www.forbes.com/sites/coxbusiness/2018/11/16/tulsa-in-training-how-two-nurses-are-shaping-a-communitys-caregivers/#6080182d3e93.
Zieba, Magdalena. “10 Ways to Socialize at Work & Be a Happier Employee.” Medium, 1 July 2016, https://medium.com/pixers-stories/10-ways-to-socialize-at-work-be-a-happier-employee-b6668f5b5dd2.