Lurking around corners, creeping through doors, going to the staff kitchen when you know it’s a quiet period, just to avoid a conversation with your colleagues? If this sounds familiar, you’re probably feeling like you’re particularly unsociable at work.
No one ever said the workplace was a social club, but being comfortable enough with your colleagues and even having a few work friends does make life a lot easier, especially if you’re there around 40 hours a week! But it’s not too late to change. However, before I go on, I’d just like to say that not everyone is an extrovert and there’s nothing wrong with being quiet - it just pays to be social at work from time to time.
Being sociable is a difficult thing to study and it’s really more of a practical venture, so rather than simply offering tips; here are five definitive things to try over a few working weeks to help you become more sociable in the workplace:
- Say yes to something you would usually decline even if it gives you butterflies. Going for lunch or a post work drink once in a while really isn’t so bad, and it’s a more relaxed way to spend time with your colleagues.
- If you have a question or a query for someone in another department, rather than send the usual email, physically walk over and ask them. This is a great way of building rapport with your fellow workers and staying in the habit of conversing with people face to face.
- Offer to do the tea/coffee run. Whether it’s going to the local beverage outlet or brewing up in the staff kitchen, go around the people in your department and ask if they want a tea or coffee. This is an easy way to break the ice with your colleagues and you never know, they might return the favour at some point!
- Spend a day smiling and saying a heartfelt hello to everyone you pass in the office. This sounds a little cheesy but it is a positive and simple way of making contact with people. Your colleagues will also see you in a good light, which always helps when it comes to being sociable.
- Sit in the communal area on one of your breaks. Rather than sitting at your desk and surfing the web with a snack, sit in the staff common room or canteen. Sitting down at a communal table forces you to make even a minimal amount of conversation with a colleague, and often in these situations, it’s someone else who initiates the talking so you won’t have to come up with an ice breaker.
If you’re not chatty or sociable by nature, it can be very difficult to make a sufficient effort with people at work as it’s so easy to purposely slip through the cracks. But, it is important to have a social life at work - it’s not compulsory to be a human fog horn, but it won’t hurt to try out these things at your own pace, and in an order that suits. Go on, have a go - you may just surprise yourself!