At some point in your career, you might have found yourself in a job you like with colleagues you get along with, but you don’t feel like you fit in socially.
Maybe your co-workers regularly headed to Chili’s for lunch while you sat in the break room and ate reheated pizza. Maybe they always made plans to see country music artists, and you hate country music. Maybe they were always referencing millennial things and you’re a Gen-Xer.
Not fitting in with your colleagues isn’t the end of the world, but it can make your job less satisfying than it should be. No matter how hard it might seem to make personal connections with your co-workers, don’t write off the situation. There are a number of things you can do to create lasting bonds with your colleagues.
Find the root cause
First of all, you should be honest with yourself and your efforts to connect. Have you gone to social gatherings? Have you tried to show genuine interest in others? What are you doing to gain friends in your personal life that you aren’t doing at work?
If you feel you’ve been friendly and made a genuine effort, the issue might not be you. If you can’t seem to fit in despite your best efforts, you can compensate by being more social outside of the office. However, if you need to feel connected to people at work to feel satisfied, or you feel caught in a toxic culture, you might want to consider a different department in the same company or even a different employer.
If you’ve taken a hard look in the mirror and realized you haven’t been completely dedicated to fitting in, it can be hard to hit the reset button and start to form bonds with people. Being yourself, however, is a good start.
Try channeling your interests and strengths to connect with others. For instance, if you’re passionate about cooking, you could suggest holding chili cook-off or cookie exchange around the holidays. Or, if you’re proud of your family traditions, you could share photos of your family functions and ask co-workers about their traditions.
By genuinely sharing parts of yourself, without bragging, you should be able to find common ground with your co-workers and lay the foundation for more personal relationships.
Sometimes, we close ourselves off to other people simply because we don’t connect with them right away. It’s important not to get discouraged if you don’t form instant bonds during your first week on the job.
The best way to overcome this situation is to get outside your comfort zone and interact with people who you might normally avoid outside the office. Don’t write-off a co-worker simply because she has political views you don’t agree with or a lifestyle you can’t relate to.
In being open to getting along with different kinds of people, you’re not only making it easier for yourself at work; you’re also growing on a personal level.
At Career Concepts, we fully support the transition of our workers into a new work environment so they can succeed in their job. Please contact us today to find out how we can help you take the next step on your career.