Work can be stressful. Whether you’re starting a new job or you’ve been in the position for a while, you’re probably constantly looking for ways to make your work life more comfortable. One of the best ways to do that is to create relationships with your coworkers.
In such a high-stress environment, though, it can sometimes be difficult to create lasting bonds with the other workers in your office. When everyone is focused on getting their tasks done, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for conversation. However, you don’t need to distract your coworkers from their desks to get them to like you.
Here are some tips you can use to improve your relationships with your coworkers and become the most popular person in the office.
1. Say Good Morning
If you’re not a morning person, the first few hours at work can be a real struggle. You’re not entirely awake yet and you’re not ready to make conversation. However, if you sit at your desk all morning with a grumpy look on your face, you’re going to push your coworkers away.
While you don’t need to strike up an energetic conversation as soon as you walk in the office door, stop and say good morning to the coworkers you pass on the way to your desk. Greeting them as you come in the office can also help them identify and remember who you are, improving your chances of making a lasting impression.
2. Ask About Them
We all love to talk about ourselves, whether we admit it or not. If you’re chatting with a coworker you don’t know very well, ask them some questions about their life. Basic questions about where they went to school, how long they’ve been at the company and what projects they’re working on can get the conversation started.
Once you know a bit about their professional life, you can start asking some questions about their interests, family life and hobbies outside of work. While you should always avoid extremely personal questions and shy away if they don’t seem like they want to answer, discussing life outside the office can help you create a stronger bond.
3. Pay Attention to Social Cues
The last thing you want is to be the person in the office who can never take a hint. If you’re trying to chat with a coworker and they’re not answering your questions or they avoid making eye contact, it may be a sign they’re not interested in talking.
Remain aware of the situation and read your coworker’s body language. If they’re rushing, focused on their computer or completing a complicated task, they may just be too busy to talk with you right now. If what you have to say isn’t important or work-related, save it for another time. Strike up a conversation when you’re both waiting for the elevator or idly sitting around the office.
4. Be Yourself
If you’re trying too hard to be the favorite in the office, everyone will catch on. Acting insincere when you’re trying to get to know your coworkers can make it seem like you have an ulterior motive, automatically making you seem untrustworthy. If your coworkers always wonder what you’re up to, it will be more difficult to really like you.
If you want your coworkers to like you, make sure you’re being yourself. While you can put on a more professional act because you’re in the workplace, stay true to who you are, what you like to do and what you value. Even if your coworkers do not agree with you on everything, they will see you’re being genuine and honest — two traits that boost relationships.
5. Give Compliments
Genuine compliments can always make a person like you more, but you want to use compliments sparingly when trying to win over your coworkers. If you’re constantly trying to flatter the people you work with, it can come off as being phony. They’ll become used to your overly kind words and the compliments will have less meaning.
Instead, truly compliment your coworkers when they really deserve it or when you really mean it. If you know they worked hard on a project or piece, let them know they did a great job. If they’ve gotten a new haircut or are wearing a new outfit, let them know you think it looks great. A few positive words here and there can really improve your relationship.
6. Be Available
Everyone has their own tasks they need to do, but if you can help a swamped coworker with their tasks, they’ll definitely remember you for it. Helping them pick up the extra pieces can go a long way, and they may even return the favor in the long run.
Being available to the members on your team is easy, because you’re all working on the same or similar projects. However, if you know a team is particularly busy, ask if you can complete small or menial tasks for them. Going on a coffee run, picking up lunch for them or making copies can help them get their work done faster. They’ll remember how you went out of your way to help them and they’ll be grateful.
7. Find Common Interests
When you’re trying to bond with your coworkers, you may feel tempted to only talk about work tasks or projects. After all, you know it is something you have in common. Discussing work while at work can get rather boring, though. Sometimes you need a bit of a break from all the work.
Finding common interests that you and a coworker share outside the office can give the two of you something to talk about to take your mind of your projects for a while. A TV show, a hobby or even a sport can all be great things to discuss with your coworkers. These topics will also give you a reason to chat with a coworker once in a while. The day after a new episode of your favorite TV show means you already have something to chat about the next day.
8. Maintain a Positive Outlook
Being in a small space with another coworker all day can really wear on your nerves. When you’re trying to focus and a coworker is gabbing or not finishing their assignments on time, tension can begin to build up. The key to maintaining likability in your office is to never act on that tension or temper.
Come up with a few different ways to control your nerves when working with a difficult coworker. If you need to step away to take a breath, do so. Try counting to 10. If you need to address a problem or an issue, do so without attacking or setting blame. Let them know you’re trying to work with them to provide a solution, not that you’re angry with them for making a mistake.
9. Don’t Engage in Office Drama
When you’re in an office with the same people day in and day out, there is likely to be some drama. If coworkers act on their emotions or butt heads, you may find that sides start forming in your office space. These can be even more apparent in small offices where everyone knows each other’s business.
While you may think taking a side will get your coworkers to like you more, it can actually hurt your reputation in the office. Instead of getting in the middle of a feud or an argument, keep your distance. Likewise, never be the source of the office drama. If you have a problem with a coworker, vent to someone who isn’t another coworker, like a family member or friend unrelated to work.
We all want to be liked by our coworkers, but the ones that truly build strong workplace relationships are those that go out of their way to connect with the people they work with. Pay attention to what’s going on in the office, listen to what your coworkers need and try to be there to help them whenever you can. If you have common ground and a shared interest, find the appropriate time to chat about it. You’ll be on your way to building strong relationships in no time.
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