10 Ways Even Introverts Can Make Friends at Work
A Note From The Editor
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For some, making friends isn’t easy. Being social isn't easy. Some of us are more introverted than extroverted. Myself, I have driven both Uber and Lyft, and I've found that one suited me better because I tend to be more introverted.
This is all fine. Most introverts "get" that they live in an extroverted world and have to cater to extroverts a little at times to fit in and get along with others. This is the same whether you work at a giant corporation or a small, fast-paced tech startup. Making friends at the office can be intimidating because you’re all working to impress your superiors, as well as make the company more successful. Whether you're in a close-knit office where everyone has been friends for years or you're shyer than the average Joe, these steps can help you create good friendships with your work mates.
1. Say hello first.
This is an easy one, but much of the time people forget (or are afraid) to do it. Often, if you reach out to someone that's all the effort it'll really take to open a line of communication and begin a friendship. Just start by saying "hi" or "goodbye" and you'll often find a coworker is happy to do the same to you the next time .
2. Create a group text.
Whether your coworkers are tech savvy or not, we are in an age where everyone sends emails and texts. I lament the loss of phone conversations, but such is life. You might as well try to take advantage of peoples' dependence upon texting then. If you chat with people in messages during the day about work-related topics, it might be feasible to send out a group text when the workday is over.
3. Ask about them.
Ask how they are doing, how long have they worked there and other open-ended questions. People love talking about themselves and nine-times-out-of-ten they will return the favor and ask about you. You may then find that you like talking about your own experiences and slip out of your introversion for a minute.
4. Add them on social media.
One of the first steps to making friends is to know what the other person likes. Social media makes this easier than it has been in the past. Once you have befriended a co-worker on Facebook or Twitter, watch your timeline for his or her updates. Don't be afraid to make a comment, or even re-share or re-tweet if appropriate. Talk to them in person about a picture you saw on their feed and you can immediately create a connection.
5. Be confident.
People can tell when you’re nervous. A lot of times, they don’t like it. When you’re uncomfortable, so are they. Make eye contact with a coworker when either of you is speaking. This is one way to let them realize that you are "present" and don't find them boring or intimidating. This is all part of showing your coworkers that you care about them and like them. More often than not, they will like you more if you make this effort, and your confidence will grow.
6. Find things you have in common.
Once you know what to talk to someone about, conversation will flow more freely. It may take just one common interest to build the basis for a strong friendship. Before long, your common interests may also have you bonding over workplace issues. You may work better together and your work may flourish because of it.
7. Go to work events.
It's not uncommon for groups of employees to gather at the end of the week at a nearby coffee shop or restaurant. Some companies treat their employees to movie night. Make sure to attend at least some of these get-togethers. It may be just like going to work, except no one will be as serious and there should be very little actual work. There might also be some alcohol involved and that can help make getting to know coworkers easier.
8. Ask for help.
Everyone has weaknesses, even you. If you show these weaknesses instead of trying to hide them, people will usually respect you more for asking for their help. It'll open the lines of communication and show a different side of yourself.
9. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Don't compare your contributions to the company to what you perceive your coworkers are contributing. Remember, it's a team and everyone is different and has their own skill set. Also, don’t worry if you’re "too" short or tall or have no hair. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend simply for those reasons they aren’t worth it in the first place.
10. Don’t fear rejection.
My father always told me, "People will meet you, and some will like you right away. Others will decide right away that they don't like you. There's very little you can do about that." I've always found him to be right. For whatever reason, some people will never take a shining to you. That's life. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend, it isn’t the end of the world. People get rejected every day all over the place but if you don’t get out there and try again you’re just hurting yourself.
For some of us, making friends at work is harder than doing the actual work we've been hired for. Even if you think you would do better work without the distraction of having to make friends, a job without them can be lonely and boring. Who will join you in discussing favorite TV shows or poking fun at the new, aggravating work assignment? Bonding over work experiences is often what makes the whole thing tolerable. So before you write it off, turn to the person next to you and say hello.