Work Relationships

How To Win Friends & Influence People at Work

Written by Kate Lopaze

It’s important to have friends and to be the kind of person people want to be friends with. It’s arguably even more important to make friends among your coworkers. First of all, work is a great place to make adult friends after college. And it’s also a great way to become a part of the company culture. You might even start to look forward to going to work every day.

Here are 10 tips on how to make more friends and influence people in the workplace and in life:

1. Use Names

Saying people’s names is easy, and if you work it into your normal speaking patters, it will really make an impact. People love hearing their own names. It’s like you’re personalizing generic small talk with every use.

2. Don’t be Mercenary

Don’t make friends with everyone, and don’t make friends with people because you want to get something out of them. Ulterior motives won’t serve you in the long run. Put your effort and energy into people you would want to socialize with outside of work. And don’t go too gung-ho too fast or you’ll scare potential buddies off with your over exuberance.

3. Be Yourself

You don’t want to get into a situation where you’re afraid to befriend certain colleagues on certain social media platforms. Keep it consistent. Have a policy and stick with it. The easiest thing? Just be yourself. At the office, at home, and across your social media profiles. Don’t say anything online you wouldn’t be comfortable having all of your friends see.

4. Help People

Nobody likes the person in the office who refuses to help her coworker. Try to say yes and help people as often as you can without sacrificing too much of your own work or time. It’s a great way to gain and express loyalty.

5. Don’t be Obnoxious

Don’t be the loud one everyone cranes their necks out of their cubicles to glare at. Don’t bring in stinky lunches and microwave their stench throughout the office. Don’t talk over people or shut down their ideas without listening. In short, don’t be a jerk. This simple strategy will actually make the rest surprisingly easy.

6. Participate

If a group of your coworkers is standing around making small talk, join in! If there’s a birthday card in circulation or a joint gift to go in on, get involved! Just as you wouldn’t want to turn down opportunities to build your professional network, don’t turn down opportunities to make friends. Happy hour? Yes please.

7. Don’t be Negative

Cursing and complaining can be alienating at best, and a huge turn off at worst. Try to stay composed and positive. Be the person people look to when they need a dose of the bright side, not someone people avoid when they’re not feeling up to snuff.

8. Set Boundaries

Making friends with your coworkers does not mean inviting them to be your bosom buddies right away. Don’t feel the need to invite people to your home or family functions too soon. That can wait until you’ve developed a true intimacy. Keep it light and social at first.

9. Resolve Conflicts

Don’t let arguments or resentments simmer and fester underneath your relationships. Remember, you can’t just leave your quibbles at home—these friends are people you also have to work with. Be super forthright in resolving conflicts as they come up, before they become major issues that might get in the way of work or your relationship.

10. Be Inclusive

Don’t just cherry pick the people you like most. Sure it’s okay to be closer to the people with whom you have most in common—you don’t have to be everyone’s friend to the same degree. But don’t be the jerk that invites everyone except one or a few people out for drinks on a Friday night. Be inclusive. Choose kindness. Otherwise you might lose friends rather than make more of them.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.