Many people ask me about how to go out with a co worker, and even make friends with them. The same rules of friendship apply here, but there are some differences that are worth keeping in mind.
To make friends at work, you need to be subtle about how to go from a formal relationship to a relaxed one. Let’s explore a quick 8 step process of turning a co worker into a friend.
1. Choose Well
Not all people are willing to have friends outside work, not all have healthy boundaries and can still make friends with people they work with, and not see everybody as a potential rival. So you have to make sure they’re friendly, and open to having friends outside of work.
2. Increase Your Mingling Time – Gradually
You can do anything step by step. Same here, if you mingle more and more with someone, eventually they’ll be ready to hang out outside work. All you have to do is practice and apply your small talk skills.
3. Make This Conversational Transition
To make friends with a coworker, you need to make the transition from talking about work, to talking more about personal topics. Ask about their weekend activities and what they do to relax in general; ask about their last vacation. Share with them what you do, too.
4. Do You Like What You Hear?
Here, it’s important to ask yourself “do I like those types of activities?” Maybe what they do socially isn’t your type of stuff at all. In that case, no need to proceed. If rather, you can see yourself sharing those activities with them, then it makes sense to continue.
Tell them that you enjoy things as well. Then, suggest that maybe some day you’ll bump into each other at that location / doing that kind of activity, and continue talking. You’re just stating a possibility here.
5. You Can Go Further
If you see more enthusiasm from them, and if they’re clearly interested in talking to you, go further by casually saying something like: “Maybe we should go there some time…” and watch what they do.
Don’t stop there, continue the discussion as if it’s just an open suggestion. If they’re open to meeting you outside work, they’ll say something like “definitely, yeah!” If not, fine, they can just nod and smile. No harm done, you didn’t ask for anything anyway.
6. Give It Time To Settle, Then Make Your Move
“Make your move” – I sound like I’m telling you how to date someone! Anyway. What you do here is wait a few days (or a week), and keep talking with that person. You do this because it gives both of you time to be comfortable with the idea of meeting outside of work. Some people “re-think” it and freak out and regret that they promised to meet a colleague outside work – so you need to watch out for how they interact; if they seem to get distant, that’s a bad sign. Maybe they regret agreeing to meet up outside work.
It’s the art of asking without asking.
If instead, the good vibe continues, then you can suggest something. Tell them that you’re planning to go with someone somewhere, give them the time and place, and tell them that they’re welcome to join if they’re available. Make it seem “no pressure” and “just an idea.”
That’s the art of asking without asking. Here’s an example: “… by the way, I’m meeting a friend of mine tomorrow for a quick drink at that cool place we talked about; you can join us if you have time – you let me know.”
7. Go Out, Have A Good Time
Go out, have a good time, and get to know each other! Treat them like any other friend, but with a little dose of reservation (depending on the nature of your work, and the level of rigidity of the place where you work.) You can open up more if you become better friends, later.
8. Here’s How To Know If You’ve Made A New Friend
If they go out with you twice, that’s a strong signal that you’re becoming friends beyond the office. This is true if you want to make friends with a client, professional associate or partner. If they meet you twice for non-business related purposes, you can now consider him/her a casual friend.
Like in any place, social skills are what makes or breaks your chances of making friends. I recommend that you give my eBook a try, and learn all the social skills you need for conversation, interaction, friendship, and social life building.
– Paul Sanders
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