How to Bond with Your Coworkers

By L. Roberts on December 26, 2019

Sometimes it’s tough to feel like you “fit in” at your new job. A new work environment can be awfully stressful, and it’s likely that after starting a new job, you’ll have some anxiety about how your coworkers view you. There’s a spectrum on which coworker interaction falls, depending on the type of work environment you’ll be in. For some, interacting with coworkers is a given on a daily basis. For others, most of their job requires working alone, solving problems in solitude and only reporting to a manager or supervisor when necessary. For those of us who work in environments where interaction is required, it can be anxiety-provoking to wonder about what your coworkers will think of you.

When you walk into your first day at your new job, you’ll likely be overstimulated by hundreds of things — the environment itself, the people you’re suddenly meeting (and remembering all of their names), what your new desk looks like, who you’ll be working near, your new phone number, email address, and list of responsibilities.. and this is only to name a few. When it comes to working with people and wanting your coworkers to like who you are, you’ll have to think about a few things:


Do you want your coworkers to like you, or do you need your coworkers to tolerate you?

For some people, work is work. It’s kept separate from their “personal life.” For others, work is work, but crosses-over with their personal life. This can be a tough boundary to set, and a dangerous one if you cross it. For instance, I know several people who enjoy “going out” with their coworkers on the weekends. However, walking in on Monday morning and facing the people you got crazy with on Friday night can be pretty unsettling. When it’s your friends, it’s not so bad. But when it’s people you have to deal with in your professional life, it’s much harder to face.

Are you wanting your workplace to also serve as your friend base?

It’s a tough call – do you want your coworkers to be your friends, or do you want to keep your personal life distant? Are you wanting to be friends with all of them on Facebook? Are you hoping you only see them Monday – Friday during business hours?

Deciding whether or not you want your coworkers to be actual friends is a tough one. But regardless of where you draw your boundary line, it is likely that you want to be able to work well with your coworkers. Most of the time, we want to bond with our coworkers in a way that will make us the most productive. If you’re someone who’s looking for ways to get closer to the people you work with, here are some options:


1. Set up a time to volunteer together.

Spending time working for a common cause is sure to bring people closer together. If you’re looking for a way to become closer to your coworkers, coordinate a volunteer event. There’s nothing better than giving your time to help others. It will also give you the opportunity to experience each other in a different setting. Instead of being in the workplace, you’ll be working together to benefit others.

2. Schedule a professional development workshop.

When we all get better at what we do, it pushes us toward a common goal. If you want to become closer to your coworkers, give yourself (and them!) the opportunity to get better at your (their) craft. When coworkers invest in the same goals, they are more likely to have more in common and feel more inclined to cheer each other on.

3. Plan an after-hours get together.

Play laser tag, meet for dinner and drinks, or embark on a Go-Kart racing adventure. Giving your coworkers the opportunity to have fun together and get to know each other in a different light will surely bring you all closer together. After a few events with each other, you’ll be surprised how much closer-knit you feel to your coworkers.

Be careful. The more you intermingle your personal and professional life, the messier things can get. (Precisely why people say not to dip your pen in the company ink, I suppose.) When you decide to cross this boundary, you decide to mix two separate parts of your life. While this isn’t a bad thing, you should be aware that it’s happening, and you should be ready for what that entails.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give you for bonding with your coworkers, it’s to make your workplace an environment where people want to come every day. If you feel comfortable, take it upon yourself to create “ugly sweater” days, organize a game of Secret Santa, or randomly leave thank-you notes for your coworkers around the office. When people are unhappy at work, their productivity goes down, and they’re more likely to leave the company/profession. So while your relationships with coworkers are important, you have to make the decision about where you stand on your coworkers being a part of your personal life.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her pup at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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