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5 Steps To Easily Connect With Your Co-Workers

Being the newest member of an office can be pretty challenging. It’s almost like in high school, when you’re the new kid on the block. Everyone’s looking at you but you’re not sure if they’re friends or foe.

Related: 5 Ways To Build Relationships With Colleagues

So you carefully gauge how you can become part of the group without being considered pushy. You know there’s a thin line between friendliness and an annoying wannabe. Keep in mind that you're joining a group that already has established dynamics. You can't just come in and say, "Hey, let's be friends. I can take over some of your tasks." Despite your best intentions, some people may resent you for stepping into their territory or usurping their role in the group. You should just get to know everyone first, observe how they interact, and decide on what you can do to earn your coworkers' trust. Why bother to play nice? Although there's no manual saying you have to "play nice" with your colleagues, we all know that things get done in a more efficient and pleasant manner when you get along with the person you work with. Being friends with your workmates is a priceless benefit that could even spell the difference between you staying in the office for years or bolting for the door in just a few weeks. Have Less Awkward Bonding Times with Your Co-Workers

Here's How You Can Bond Better With Your Co-Workers...

1. Make An Effort Outside The Office

When you can, make an effort to mingle with your workplace colleagues after office hours or during meetings. You can get a quick bite and talk about what happened at work that day. Ask them about their neighborhood ("Have you lived there long?"), their families ("How many kids do you have?"), and their interests ("Are you into snowboarding?"). Be curious about your co-workers, but don't be intrusive. They will share more information with you once you gain their trust. It also helps if you volunteer information about yourself — but nothing too intimate or too shocking, OK?

2. Stop Complaining About Work

Unless you're all sitting around releasing tension about the stress you all experience at work, it's best if you don't bring up negative things about the workplace. You might be stressed but that’s no reason to dump all your frustrations on your co-worker. There are different strategies for handling stress that don’t involve annoying the people you work with. After all, you're all working for the same company. Even if you don't really like the way things are done, some of your co-workers may have different opinions.

3. Look For Common Ground

A great way to find out more about your co-workers is to connect on social media. On Facebook, for instance, you can easily see what groups they're in and what shows they watch. You can start a conversation during downtime at work about any of these things. You can ask, "Who's your favorite character on The Walking Dead?" or "Oh, your grandparents are from Ireland? Mine are, too." It may start out as small talk but it may also pave the way for a long-lasting friendship that goes beyond the workplace.

4. Collaborate On Projects

Obviously, you can't do everything alone. Create a to-do list for your project then see which items you’d need help with. Seek for your co-workers' guidance — the senior staff members, especially — because they often have a better or faster way of doing things. Identify your co-workers' strengths and ask for their help on matters that need their expertise. For instance, you can ask your office accountant to take a look at your financial report. You can say, "I need a fresh pair of eyes. Please have a look if you're not busy." Emphasize that you value your co-workers' input but make it clear that you're not totally dependent on them. You earn their respect if you show that you are capable and good at what you do.

5. Share Credit, Don’t Hog All The Glory

Don't claim that you did everything, especially when you didn't. For example, when your boss praises you for a good idea that didn't actually come from you, you can say, "That's not my idea, it was Kelly’s.” If you're still apprehensive about being accepted by your co-workers, just remember to do your job efficiently and promptly. Then, top it off with being nice and sincere. You certainly can't go wrong with that strategy.

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About the author

Michelle Riklan gained extensive HR leadership experience at Fortune 500 companies such as Sony Entertainment and John Wiley & Sons. With a combined 20 years of in-house corporate and targeted consulting experience, Michelle currently services large corporations, small businesses, and individuals in all aspects of Human Resources and Career Management. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter or call her at 800.540.3609 for more information. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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