By Sarah Howard, Life2PointOh.com
You probably spend more time with your co-workers than your own family, right? Even if you normally wouldn’t hang out with these people on a Saturday night, it’s in your best interest to become an office best friend. Someone needs to take you out for a birthday lunch after all. Follow these tips for fitting in and finding office bliss.
Pay attention to your co-workers’ lives. If a co-worker mentions that she’s throwing her sister a bridal shower over the weekend, ask how it went come Monday. Do you know via Facebook that a co-worker just got engaged? Pick up a card before work and have everyone sign it. Showing interest in your office-next-door buddy’s life will flatter him or her (and make for easy conversation starters!), plus they’ll reciprocate by asking about your life outside the 9-5.
Eavesdrop. OK, hear us out on this one. With the majority of staffers working in side-by-side cubbies, it can be easy to overhear conversations—and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Are co-workers dishing about the latest Real Housewives? Pitch in to the conversation. Did someone mention grabbing coffee? Politely invite yourself along. Sometimes proximity can be a good thing.
Food. Always bring food. Nothing gathers a group of workers together faster than free food. Open up that container of homemade cookies on Monday morning and watch them flock to your desk. When people approach you, their original intent may be to grab a snack, but ask them a question about their weekend so they stick around and chat for a minute.
Never turn down a happy hour. It’s a time-tested tradition: Nothing bonds those who work together like a cocktail. If you’re invited—especially if you’re new to the workplace—always accept the invitation. Young professionals open up over drinks and not only dish about work but about their personal lives as well. After having drinks with co-workers, you’ll hear “hey” a lot more often around the office.
Be yourself. Many people are tempted to put on their “professional” hat at work, which is good, but you don’t want to come across as stuffy and stuck up. Let your co-workers get to know the real you, minor (emphasis on the minor) insecurities and all. It won’t make you seem weak—it will make you seem real and approachable.