Make no mistake, the kind of relationships we build in a workplace can really make or break a job. If you can’t find anyone on your side, anyone to share with, to stress with, and laugh with, it can make the best of jobs a miserable position. Some people have more difficulty than others finding those all-crucial friends. So, let’s look at why you might be having some trouble.
You’re inadvertently a bit of a jerk
It’s a hard-hitting point, but that’s why it’s important we look at it. We know that no-one likes to think themselves a villain. Even people who do malicious things tend to try hard to justify it in their own mind. You might not be malicious, but you might be doing things that people would consider ‘jerk-moves’. Sometimes, it’s an effort to appear all-knowledgeable in your field to appear valuable but only ends up making you seem like a know-it-all. In other cases, you might think that ‘just being honest’ means frank and abrupt criticism that actually hurts the feelings of others. You need to look at the signs of a jerk and see if you might inadvertently be doing some things that are creating a hostile presence. Once you notice them, it’s not too difficult to catch yourself and stop yourself from indulging in those habits.
You’re an introvert
There’s nothing wrong with being introverted. If you want to make friends, however, you have look at the core of it. For some people, it’s about dealing with social anxiety. As an introvert, the best way is to simply take small steps. Instead of trying to go all guns blazing in big social situations, focus on those who seem to share some sort of affinity or interest in common with you. Start small, focus on one person and let the circle grow naturally from them.
You have nothing to talk about
Making friends is tough when you can’t find anything to say. Trying to have a conversation with someone like that is like trying to make watching paint dry interesting. If you can’t find shared passions with people, maybe you should simply look at getting more informed. Get up to speed on current events and learn more on interesting topics to talk about. Most importantly, pay attention to what others say. Remember details they share with you about their life. If they talk about a wife applying for a job or a son joining a sports team, ask about them.
Your insecurities get in your way
There’s nothing as good at sabotaging our attempts to get friendly with people as our own minds. Having some form of ‘danger sense’ is useful, but when you’re fostering positive relationships, it gets in the way. Many of the interpersonal problems we see in the workplace arise from misunderstandings. People think others are jealous or out to get them and that colors every future interaction they have with them. Instead of letting your insecurities spot threats for you, override them. Assume goodwill. Think of the positive reasons anyone might take to do what it is they do. You might get burned from time to time, but overall it will turn you into a person that is a lot easier to get along with.
Finding out why you’re not making any friends is going to require some introspection and some tough questions. Don’t stay too grounded in yourself, however. Sometimes, it pays to just take the chance and say hello.
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