COMPANY CULTURE / DEC. 09, 2015
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Why You Are Not Bonding With Your Co-workers

Bonding with your coworkers is an important part of helping you fit in to the workplace environment. If you are surrounded by people who constantly ignore you, that can make it more difficult for you to bond with them. You’re basically seen and not heard and never included in any aspect of team building or interpersonal relationship dynamics in the office. Sure, you have to make a daily effort to get along with people. However, sometimes whatever you try, isn’t working and you may be wondering why.

See Also: How to Be Friends with Your Boss Without Making Things Weird

So, before you get too frustrated and make a rash decision to confront your colleagues or run like a baby to tattle on them to your manager, try to understand the reasons for the relational disconnects. Consider the following four reasons why you may not be connecting well with your colleagues. Maybe you’re experiencing one of them and can make positive and productive changes to improve your bonding experience.  

You’re Not Making an Effort

You may be working in a positive and productive environment that is filled with friendly people. Yet, you’re not bonding with anyone in the office because you have not made any effort. It takes two to tango and you won’t make effective connections with people at work if you don’t do your part. It’s a fact of life that relationships—both personal and professional—need work. If your coworkers feel that you are continually not making any effort to become part of the group, you’ll soon be left by the wayside. That is definitely not a place you want to be if you are career minded and hope to actually enjoy your time in the workplace.

If you’re not making an effort, you need to ascertain why. You could simply be lazy and don’t feel like developing genuine relationships with people at work. Maybe you don’t really care about your job and that attitude is pervading every aspect of your behavior. It could be that you are simply focused on completing your job tasks each day and don’t have the time to build your relationships with coworkers. You might be career minded and think that hanging out with people at work is a waste of time. However, if you want to continue to be successful at work, it would serve you well to begin making an effort to get to know your colleagues.

Everyone Thinks You’re a Loner

You might be the nicest person in the world. However, your personality is more laid back and you are introverted. Nothing is wrong with being reserved. Yet, it can create a difficult situation at work when your coworkers start to think you are standoffish and you have built high walls up around your desk—and we’re not talking about the cubicle walls. Most people stay away from you because they think you are a loner and don’t actually want to participate in the activities of the group. Their perception is wrong because you really do want to connect with people and become more of a team player and friend to others at work.

You wish you could take a leap of faith, break down those walls and hang out with coworkers from your department during the monthly Happy Hour. It will take some effort on your part, but you need to be brazen in your attempts. Of course, you don’t want to cause a ruckus in the office. However, you’ll need to do something bold to get your colleagues’ attention. Consider breaking free from the role of the office loner and invite a few people out to lunch with you. They may faint from surprise, but that can be a huge step in the right direction of starting to connect with your office mates. When people see that you do want to hang out with them, you’ll be included in their conversations during office meetings and parties and you won’t be excluded from excursions during lunch break.

There’s an Age Difference

Maybe you are a millennial in an office of older people. That’s definitely not the easiest type of work situation to find yourself in; especially if you are sociable and like to engage with people. The older generation probably has some preconceived notions about you that need adjustments. They could very well be scared of you because you are unpredictable to them. These more mature colleagues may not be ready to engage in relationships with younger individuals because they think there are too many differences for you guys to have anything in common.

Similarly, you most likely have some assumptions about them that need to be reevaluated. Those misconceptions about each other can hinder the cultivation of a strong connection period between you and your fellow workers. Maybe you’d like to hang out after work several times a week for dinner or drinks. After all, you’re young and full of life and need to be on the go, experiencing all that life has to offer. However, your older work friends don’t really want to hang out. For the most part, that aspect of their lives is over since they are at a different stage than you. They have kids to pick up from school, soccer games to get to and may simply rather enjoy a quiet evening at home than have a wild night out. You can overcome these generational differences, but that will take some time and open communication between you guys.

They Give You the Cold Shoulder

Plain and simple, you may not be connecting with your coworkers because you’re surrounded by a bunch of people who constantly give you the cold shoulder. You may not even be doing anything to alienate them. They could just be ignorant people who are self-absorbed and don’t allow anyone else into their inner circle. Their behavior has nothing to do with age differences or them seeing you as a loner. You have made efforts to bond with them, but to no avail. Nothing you do seems to budge the big chip off their shoulder.

If you’re working in the midst of such immature individuals, your best bet is to cut your losses. Get used to working solo and hanging out with yourself. Hopefully, you can find nicer people to hang out with in other departments or simply find relational fulfillment exclusively in your personal life. However, that could make for a very lonely work day. You can try to break into the clique, but you’ll need to put on your armor and be prepared for continual cold rebuffs during the process. It’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth the effort to try to infiltrate the ranks of these ignoramuses.

See Also: Why Friends Make You More Productive

You never know when you’re going to need a friend at work, so you’d better figure out why you are not connecting well with others in the workplace. It could be that you’re completely checked out mentally and emotionally and are not interested in connecting with others at work. You might want to make positive connections, but everyone thinks you’re a loner and leaves you alone. They don’t want to bug you, so you never relate well with anyone at work.

Maybe you’re the baby of the office and everyone else is old enough to be your big brother or sister or even your parents. Rather than bringing you into the fold, they’re holding you at arm’s length because you might get too wild and challenge the status quo. The worst reason that you are not relating well with coworkers is because you work with a bunch of mean people who would rather be exclusive in their group than welcome new blood.

Have you had trouble bonding with people at work? How did you handle the situation, and did your relationships get any better? Let us know in the comments section below.

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