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Leaving work at work is often encouraged, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your friends and relationships with your co-workers at work. With many working Americans spending at least 40 hours per week at work, it should be a no-brainer that we make our work associates into people with whom we enjoy spending time, and who we feel we can trust and communicate with well.
When we enjoy being around the people we work with, it improves our happiness on the job, as well as our overall productivity. Here are eight tips to help you develop meaningful relationships at work.

  • Recognize your colleagues’ achievements

Whether they were formally acknowledged or not, give special notice to your coworkers when you see them finish a big project, make a big sale, or do something else of significance. It may be old school, but actually writing them a thank-you note is much more personal than a passing, “congrats,” or a text.

  • Remember names

Maybe this doesn’t need to be said, but just in case… remember your coworkers’ names. You will leave a much better impression with those around you if you address them by their names, even those with whom you have infrequent contact, and appear friendlier and more approachable.

  • Learn from others

Asking questions is a great way to build relationships. Everyone has something to learn from others. Be engaging and an active listener in conversations, and approach every person as if they have a great lesson to teach you. Because truthfully, they probably do.

  • Share more

If you are reluctant to ever share personal details about yourself at work, you may come off as cold or unapproachable. Share personal stories or examples when appropriate, and let those around you get to know you on a deeper level.

  • Take planned breaks together

While you may not always get to go out together outside of work hours, take advantage of your breaks and lunch by planning activities with your co-workers. This will allow you to get to know each other on a deeper level and as someone more than just your job title. Simple things like going for walks or coffee, throwing a frisbee, playing some sort of game or even sharing funny YouTube videos you like, will strengthen your relationships and give your friendship a more solid foundation on which to build.

  • Set boundaries

All of this is great, but when a work relationship starts monopolizing your time or becoming too personal, it’s time to back off. To avoid this in the first place, set some boundaries to ensure that line is never crossed. You must maintain professionalism at work, and not let your job or personal life become jeopardized by a work relationship.

  • Pay attention

Especially if you’re fairly new to a job, try to pay attention to what your co-workers mention about their life happenings. For example, asking questions such as, “is your son/daughter better? I heard you mention you had to leave to care for them,” or, “how was jury duty?” are great ways to break the ice into more personal topics and develop more meaningful relationships.

  • Avoid gossip

Lastly, make sure that the only business you share is your own. Being known as a gossiper will quickly deteriorate the trust you’ve built with your co-workers, and can also lead to some very hurtful and damaging situations. Focus on meaningful and constructive conversations that steer clear of other people’s’ personal lives and matters.

Use these tips to strive to make appropriate relationships at work that extend beyond the scope of simply networking. Focus on creating friendships that will last a long time. Make the relationships genuine. Do this, and you’ll not only see improvements in job satisfaction and your engagement with your work, but also in your sense of community and support in your own personal life.

About the Author:

Garret Crosby is a freelance writer for multiple online publications. He has recently worked with ROI Call Center Solutions. Garret is committed to learning about innovative methods that will help people to progress in their careers. When he is not busy writing, Garret loves to be outdoors, and he loves to be with friends.