Making friends in a new environment for me is like plunging into a cold water pool in a hot summer afternoon. It is refreshing but the water temperature makes me think twice to jump in. I like to test the water first, with my hands or my feet just to check how cold it is and then only I dive.
It is indeed hard to be in a new place and become the stranger among people who have been familiar with each other. The feeling of being left behind so easily sinks in and makes it even harder to start the talk. I am one of those who have to do a lot of mind struggles and dozens of self conversations before taking a courage to say a simple hi to a new person.
There was one fierce lady at my former workplace (one of many) who ironically, despite my uneasiness of making friends, was the first one I reached out to. She was very outspoken and strongly opinionated in a lot of stuff: politics, socials, co-workers, you name it. One day, I just built my determination and went to her and asked whether I could join her for lunch. Of course, the rest becomes history once we walked together to the nearby cafeteria.
The above story leads me to my first tip to mingle at new workplace, and more:
– Build rapport with the leader
While I don’t consider the fierce lady as a true leader but she has her stance. At least she wasn’t a follower and I recognized she could influence other co-workers in decision-making. So I built my rapport with her. It is a gate opener to get to know others. Like in my case, our first lunch turned out was spent with the other co-workers who joined us. It gave me a golden opportunity to make new friends without having to approach my new co-workers one by one. A leader I am talking here is not necessarily a manager. It should be someone among your co-workers who stands out. Someone who says “let’s go to Starbuck for lunch at 1” and everyone follows.
– Stock up sweets and snacks
Workplace is probably the most boring environment in the world. People go there because they need it. Few would say because they like it there. It is why more offices are now equipped with stocked up pantry. You do realize the urge to keep going to the pantry right? Either just to straighten your legs for awhile, to look for coffee, or to look for little snacks, whatever it is a pantry full of food is always a strong magnet for a good crowds. How about creating a ¼ pantry at your desk? Put a jar of candies or crisps on your desk and see the magic works. What I used to do, to even make it with a bang, I announced it to the world “hey guys, I have new crisps here incase you want some..”.
– Elevator chat
Elevator is also a good place to start a conversation with your new co-workers. The time when waiting for the elevator or when you are in it.
Get to know the peak hours of your co-workers arrival and be around the elevator in those hours. Even if you have come earlier, create an excuse to go – maybe to buy a coffee or breakfast, so you have a reason to wait for an elevator at the same time as your co-workers.
The ultimate tips for all is just join the fun. A good friendship at a workplace sometimes is hard to make. Office politics can always get in the way. But if you do groom it well, it can blossom like one of the most beautiful flowers in the world.
Are you ready to mingle?
Comeback on Thursday for more Back To Work Guides for Moms with me
VISIT MY STORE