Q: I am a couple of weeks old into my new job, which is also my first job, but I am yet to make friends. Most of the time, I forgo lunch because I have no one to go out for lunch with.The colleagues sitting near me say hello every morning and make small talk once in a while but that’s it. When they leave for lunch they don’t invite me, and when hanging out in the evening, they also don’t invite me. This is distressing me, and I urgently need to know how to handle this situation.
First, congratulations on landing a new job. And not just a new job, your first job – new environment, faces, responsibilities, and many new colleagues who seem to have adapted to the workplace.
Before you get further distressed, remember that these colleagues who seem to interact with one another easily were once in your shoes. I therefore say relax, all will be well, but you have to play your part.
Instead of waiting for them to make the first move, initiate conversation with the colleagues closest to you. You have the best advantage to start a conversation. For instance, you could say, “Hi, my name is… I am new in the department and was wondering if you could assist me with this.”
We all like people who listen keenly when we speak, so how about being a keen listener? Instead of feeling left out when others go out for lunch without you, how about asking whether you could join them? Make an effort to talk to others.
Compliment them if need be, strike easy conversations such as enquiring how long they have worked at the company, where they went to school, and the fun activities they enjoy at work or off work.
I guarantee that you are likely to find a colleague with whom you will hit it off, and within no time, you will have some work buddies to hang out with.
If colleagues keep shunning you, though, perhaps you do not look the part. Maybe you under dress or overdress for instance. Or perhaps your grooming leaves a lot to be desired.
That said, if reading this and you sit close to a colleague who is new in the company, make a point of reaching out to him or her – it could be just what he or she is yearning for.