It’s obvious, but a positive attitude can help in both these areas. No one can be cheery all the time – and to be honest, people would find it annoying if you were! – but maintaining positivity, being able to laugh through problems rather than whining about them, can be a good way to lift other people’s spirits, and if they’re feeling happier they’ll be more likely to think happier thoughts about you.
Finding common ground is another good place to begin. Think about your ‘real-life’ friendships; most of them would have started with a shared interest, the same applies at work. Whether it’s supporting the same football team, having kids of a similar age, or a passion for a particular food, book, film, or hobby, there is bound to be one shared factor to build a friendship around.
Finally, be open to other people; making friends isn’t one-sided, so when other people talk, make sure that you actually listen.
Of course, it’s also worth remembering that one of the easiest ways to gain friends is not to make any enemies, and in the workplace it’s the littlest gripes than can be blown out into the biggest proportions. A recent study that we conducted at www.officebroker.com revealed that co-worker’s lunches caused real contention. 80% of office-based workers had very strong feelings on the subject, saying that they felt that eating strong-smelling foods in the workplace was unprofessional… Presumably, the other 20% were those doing the eating!
Seven in ten of the people spoken to went so far as to say that eating foods such as burgers, curries and fries at work was annoying, rude and enough to make them angry, so beware your lunchbreak choices when you’re seeking to make a good impression.