Day 5: The Importance of Work Friends

Here’s your exercise for today: Reach out to someone at work — or, if you’re a student, at school — who you want to know better. If you’re retired or your parents don’t work outside, you can still get involved: Consider your “workplace” wherever you might go regularly, whether it’s classes, organize a place where you volunteer or even a coffee shop in your neighborhood .

Here are four ways to make new connections at work:

For someone you don’t know: One of the best ways to foster friendships in the workplace is to follow up on something a person has mentioned, says Shasta Nelson, a friendship expert and author of “The Business of Friendship.” access in a meeting or group. She said: “Make a note for yourself what they mentioned, so a week later you can say, ‘How was the 5K race you said you were going to do?’ Or, ‘I hope your daughter isn’t sick anymore.’” As you watched, Ms. Nelson said, people were “very surprised and pleased.”

For a colleague you want to know better: Invite them to do something that would normally only take a few minutes, something like, “I need to clear my head – would you like to walk around the block with me?”

Gena Cox, organizational psychologist and executive coach in Clearwater, Fla., suggests: “Recently, someone unexpectedly sent me a letter and told me why they admired me, ” she speaks. “I was shocked. And I will always feel closer to that colleague because they did that little thing for me.”

If someone offers you any kind of help at work, whether it’s fixing computer problems or showing you where the best snack machines are, resist the urge to “automatically from declined because you don’t want to bother the person,” Ms. Nelson said. “Instead, say yes. Then be generous back and ask what you can do to make their job easier or more enjoyable.”


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