How to Make Friends at Work as an Introvert

Life as an introvert is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re perfectly content to spend time on your own, and you work well independently. However, you also find yourself struggling to thrive in social settings, especially new ones. So, a new job can bring even more pressure than, you know, starting the next phase of your career — you’ll have to meet loads of new people and make friends at the office, too.

Fortunately, though, many other introverts have walked this path before you, and they found ways to not only survive in their new work environments, but thrive. Here are eight of the best tips as taken from this important link for making work friends that will suit your personality.

1. Take It Easy

Your first days of work are already going to be stressful. Adjusting to a new environment, meeting the team, training for hours … you already have a lot on your plate. So, don’t push yourself to make friends during this time. Instead, observe the people around you and see how they interact.

When you take the backseat for a few days, you’ll notice if your new coworkers go out to lunch together, what they chat about, etc. That will give you an idea of when — and how — to dive in.

2. Open the Line of Communication

A simple way to get to know someone at work is to simply say hello when you arrive at the office, whether you’re in a brick-and-mortar building or logging onto work remotely. It’s obviously a quick interaction, but it will warm you up to longer chats. Think about it — your hello could lead to a “How are you?” or “How was your weekend?” Those questions will give you a glimpse into your coworker’s life, which is just what you need to bond and become friends.

3. Bond With One Person at a Time

It’s not in your nature to talk to and entertain a large group of people, so don’t attempt to do that. Instead, build your relationship with one coworker at a time. You could start your small talk with one person and, once you’re comfortable with them, add a new colleague into the mix. You could also make a point to say hello to a new person each day for a week. That way, you’re not overwhelmed by remembering names and conducting chat after chat — it’s exhausting, whether or not you’re introverted.

4. Seek Extracurricular Activities

Many companies attempt to foster good relationships among their employees by sponsoring after-work activities. For example, intramural sports teams bring staffers together to play friendly games of softball, kickball or other team sports — and, often, they’ll grab drinks after. You can see how this builds friendships quickly.

Find out if your company has any similar opportunities. Everything from volunteering to book clubs to fitness classes could be the ticket to bonding with your coworkers.

5. Decorate Your Workspace

As an introvert, having the conversation come to you can make it simpler to start. One way to spark a chat with one of your colleagues is to decorate your desk. Once they see pieces of your personality shining through, they’ll come over to talk.

You should decorate your workspace anyway — it makes it easier to work in a place that represents your character, even if you only add a few pictures and bring your favourite mug from home. Those little knickknacks could be enough to pique someone’s interest — and inspire them to get to know you.

6. Help Out

Great news if you’re a hard worker and an extrovert — you can make friends just by doing your job. One of the best ways to forge relationships with your coworkers is to be of aid when they need it. Whether you stay late to finish a project together or you take a task of theirs to lighten their load, you’ll instantly strengthen ties. Plus, you’ll improve your standing around the office if everyone knows they can depend on you to step up when you’re able.

7. Improve Your Body Language

No matter how open you are to making new friends, your body language may make you appear to be closed to interaction. For instance, your colleagues might get the wrong message if you’re constantly crossing your arms or slipping headphones as soon as you arrive at your desk. Of course, these behaviours are instinctive, and they may make you feel comfortable. Unfortunately, they send the wrong message to your colleagues.

So, make a point to open up your body language, so you appear as friendly as you are inside. Talking with your hands will prevent you from keeping them crossed. If you’re feeling stressed out or uncomfortable, try to crack a smile. Merely grinning can convince your brain you’re OK — and everyone around you will see the warmth that’s on your face.

8. Love Yourself

This is the best way of all to make friends. Once you realise you’re the wonderful person you are, you won’t have any trouble making friends. So, don’t be shy about sharing your interests or your quirks with new people. They’ll soon realise what so many others in your life have discovered — you’re worth getting to know, regardless of whether you’re outgoing or ostentatious. Once you learn that lesson, you’re going to find friendships easy to forge in all areas of your life.

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she's a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. You can find her tweeting on her coffee breaks @SarahLandrum