I started a new job about 5 months ago and I feel like I haven’t made much progress in terms of bonding with my coworkers. (I am close with one of my coworkers, but she sits on the other side of the office). It has a pretty long training process that just recently finished, and I thought I would be friends with my coworkers by now. We all have the same job and they’re friends with each other, but I can’t help but feel excluded constantly: They eat lunch together all the time and have a group chat. I know they’ve been working together much longer than I have, but every time I try to connect, it doesn’t seem to work. My brain tells me that I shouldn’t take it personally, but I can’t help but let it get to me sometimes. Advice? Thanks ❤
The Lonely Coworker
Dear Lonely Coworker,
I’m sorry that you are having a hard time making friends at work. When you’re feeling isolated at the place where you spend most of your time, it can be disheartening.
Maybe you need to reconsider your methods for making friends. For example, do you tend to interact with your coworkers in bigger groups? It can be difficult to really connect to people in these situations, especially if the rest of the group has established common ground. Try instead to invite one person to take a walk, grab lunch, get a drink after work, or to an activity you know you both like. Instead of trying to fit into the group as a whole, focus on making individual connections.
If you reach out to form individual friendships and find yourself getting the cold shoulder from certain people, it might be hard not to take it personally, but you just aren’t going to connect with everyone. Expand your horizons in terms of who can be your friend. Many companies present opportunities to socialize, such as volunteer work, intramural sports, happy hours, and other events outside of the office. Instead of heading home to throw on your sweats, take advantage of these events to get yourself out there and meet more people.
In the end, you might just need more time to establish yourself at the company. Five months may seem like a long time, but if these people have been working together for a while, it may just take you a little longer to catch up. Don’t give up too soon. In the meantime, try making yourself more approachable. Make an effort to say “hi” and smile at everyone, and people will feel more comfortable approaching you. Ask people about their lives and remember things about them. Be helpful when you can, and ask for help when you need it. These are things that are very effective in making people like you.
Also, sometimes simply acting more confident attracts people to you. Walking with your head held a little higher is an easy way to fake it till you make it.
Best of luck! I hope you are feeling less lonely soon.