Career Advice

How to Turn Your Colleagues into Your Friends?

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Turning your colleagues into friends will help you to maintain a positive workplace ambiance.  No office is fun without a handful of friends to hang out with, joke, and share your accomplishments.  Of course, friends are there to lend a shoulder when something goes wrong and support you on your hard days.  It is a common misconception that colleagues are not friends and it is not wise to share professional achievements or secrets with them.  Here are some tips that will help you to turn your colleagues into your friends.

Pay Attention to Body Language

A permanent frown on your face, not making any eye contact, or glazed-over eyes when someone talks make you look disinterested in the conversation.  Nobody wants to be friends with a person who is not ready to give their time to them.

If you really want to befriend a colleague, pay attention to your body language and make direct eye contact when they talk to you.  Welcome them with a strong handshake, and show subtle signs of closeness like a pat on the shoulder or an occasional hug.  Pay attention to them when they are talking to you, nod your head and rephrase to ensure you are understanding them.

It is a common misconception that colleagues are not friends and it is not wise to share professional achievements or secrets with them.  Here are some tips that will help you to turn your colleagues into your friends.Click To Tweet

“Seriously? Did Bob say …..,”

This simple rephrasing shows you have emotion and you are touched by the story.  You have also captured the name of some person and observed what the person in front of you told about them.

The person who is talking to you will feel interested to continue the story and tell you more which is the first step to building a friendship.

Do Not Make It All About Yourself

The major mistake most people make is interrupting a person when they are talking.  Management gurus always stress not to interrupt a person when they are talking for at least 3 minutes and to state your point of view after 3 minutes.  This thumb rule is applicable for friendship building too.

“Did you know my car broke down on a rainy day once?”

“Huh! I have been through worse”

This response will prevent the person talking from telling their story right at the beginning. Good conversations are a must for long-lasting friendships. Making it all about yourself will nib the conversation at its starting point preventing you from turning your colleagues into your friends. The acceptable response in this situation is “Oh my God! Really? When? How did you manage?”

You can listen to their story for three minutes and continue with yours. “I was in a similar situation once…..” Your colleague will be obliged to listen to you now as they have already finished their story and you have also given an emotional response of appreciation or advice to them. Not making it all about yourself is important in friendship.

Be There

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You cannot be invisible and expect people to acknowledge you. Show up for parties, family gatherings, office events and volunteer to help. Do not hesitate to ask for help as it will make you feel like a down-to-earth person. People like to take care of others who are ready to let them help.

Ask them for a favor and if they are not in a position to do it, ask for a mild favor which they will do happily. “I am going out with my spouse tonight. Can you take care of my pet for a few hours?”

“It is ok if you have plans. Can you recommend me someone who could help?”

The colleague will be happy to contact someone and book them for you. Don’t forget to thank them for the help the next day and share your story with them. It is a way of creating something common to talk about.

Friendship Formula

Proximity, Intensity, Duration, and Frequency – Experts state all four components are important for turning colleagues into friends. Be near them, with them, and around them to induce familiarity as friendship doesn’t develop in a day. Show you really care by taking them to occasional dinners, outings, movies, or gifting them on special occasions.

Don’t be too clingy disturbing them in their work or ignore them completely for a long time. The frequency of interaction is also important to build a steady friendship. Regular greetings when you meet in person, texting or messaging once a day, and hanging out once in a fortnight or a week will do.

Also, pay high importance to the duration of your meetings and interactions. Keep in mind your colleague’s schedule and your work. Don’t interrupt them when they are in a hurry. Keep it short if necessary and make it longer if they are free and you both have enough time. Plan a day out with a bunch of your colleagues apart from team outings where everybody hangs out.

Avoid Negativity and Add Surprise Element

Don’t criticize too much or talk only about negative things. Let go of small inconveniences and don’t moan much if one person is late or the food is not good. Hanging out with friends is not project execution. It is just time to loosen up and not worry even if nothing goes as you planned. Just enjoy the small things, and have something to laugh about for the next full week.

Nobody wants to befriend a constantly complaining grumpy person. But everybody loves a cheerful mate who takes everything easy.

In case you still find it hard to decide what to talk about, use Nuwber to find some details about your colleague like their date of birth to know when to congratulate them. You may find some information about their family or previous jobs to find common topics of interest.

If they are having a hard day, don’t turn away from your co-workers. Give them a chance to let it out of their system – they will feel better and will appreciate your attention.

Just remember that we are all human and we are all different. Take people for who they are and you will build long-lasting friendships at work.

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