WORK-LIFE BALANCE / FEB. 13, 2015
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How to Make More Friends at Work

Getting along with your work mates is crucial as you are spending a third of your day there, so not having friends can make work pretty lonely. You don’t have to like everyone, but it always helps to be respectful, confident and known for cooperation, fun and mutual support. Studies of employee engagement show that having friends at work is a key factor that contributes to job satisfaction. In order to make more friends at work, you need to keep an open mind about the people in the office, respect others and accept them as they are.

Here are some vital etiquette tips to help you expand your friend base at work and keep good office relationships:

Don’t act as a know-it-all guy

No matter how bossy you like yourself to be, having the last say in everything could be really annoying. If your opinion clashes with someone else’s viewpoint, you don’t always have to be right. Don’t take an absolute stance on what you deem to be right, allow others to speak and present their arguments and if you still disagree, say something like “I didn’t see it that way” and let it go. Also, when you are to blame for something, don’t deny your role or blame someone else. It would be more productive and good for your self-respect to admit you were wrong, apologise and come up with a practical solution.  

Be a good listener

Letting others talk and explain things uninterruptedly is a virtue for an employee. However, being a good listener is often an underestimated skill. Show your colleagues that what they say matters to you. Use body language to show that you are empathetic to their needs or ideas. Nod your head and take notes if necessary. There’s no need to rush to think of how to respond and don’t interrupt them with a “Yeah, but…”. Just listen carefully to them showing a positive attitude and help them find solutions should they have problems.

Don’t criticise others publicly

If any of your colleagues have missed a deadline or haven’t been helpful enough on a project, don’t tell them off in front of other people. Nobody likes a big mouth or a snitch. Keep criticisms and angry outbursts away from public view. The workplace is not a battlefield to engage in heated quarrels and dramas. Take a few minutes before your colleague leaves from work and talk to him about the issue discretely and how he can improve the situation.  

Don’t be a people-pleaser in making commitments

 Sure, you want to show good will and help those less fortunate than you. Many times, colleagues, especially newbies, will ask you for help and favours. But don’t just say ‘yes, no problem’ and be the ‘Good Samaritan’ at the expense of your obligations. Avoid over-committing and carefully select what and whom you will help.   

Keep an open mind

If you are a new member in a company, a colleague may approach you to warn you to avoid hanging out with X colleague. Then three hours later, the X colleague comes to tell you to avoid the other co-worker. Well, don’t fall into the trap of engaging in the gossip politics of the workplace. Pay attention to what people tell you but don’t take a stance against anyone, until you instinctively know who deserves your trust.

Follow these etiquette tips not only to make more friends in the office but also to lay the foundation for becoming a great and inspiring leader.  

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