I started at a new workplace (about 3 weeks in) where most of the people have worked with each other for more than 10 years.

In short, it's been a little hard being the new guy when everyone has these relationships. They are all polite, but not super interested in making new friends. Often I feel left out between their friendly inside jokes and conversations. I don't feel like this is super intentional (to make me feel left out), but I feel like they could reach out more.

Regardless of what they choose to do, I want to do my part to develop a good relationship with my co-workers.

The answer may seem obvious to some, but what are some strategies for developing friendships at work?

  • 1
    Take a genuine interest in the person's life outside of work. Ask a question, and when they answer, pay attention. Ask a follow-up question. Try to spend a few minutes each day talking to your colleagues about their lives outside of work.
    – Lumberjack
    Nov 22, 2016 at 21:14
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic since the link to the workplace is tenuous at best. As written the question is focused solely on strategies for developing (deeper) friendships with acquaintances instead of specifically asking about the ways that the office dynamic would affect the process.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 23, 2016 at 10:51
  • [...] A question like "What should I be careful of when making friend at the office?" or "How do I integrate better in the social circle as a new hire?" would be more on-topic, though the latter may have been asked before.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 23, 2016 at 10:51
  • 4
    If a question about making friends AT the workplace isn't on topic, then I don't know what is.
    – Ronnie W
    Nov 23, 2016 at 14:11
  • 2
    The book How to win Friends and Influence People does a very good job helping point out some the obvious things many people overlook for socializing. It doesn't teach you manipulation or anything, but just how to live day to day with other people, how to be approachable and approaching other, all the good stuff! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Win_Friends_and_Influence_People
    – Timmy
    Nov 23, 2016 at 14:23

4 Answers 4


First things first: try to break the ice or start a conversation. Start out by trying to find people you have things in common with and people you enjoy talking to.

When you are walking around the office, take a look at what people have on their desks. Pictures, awards, trinkets, etc. If someone has a football team flag and you know remotely anything about football, make a casual comment along the lines of "Hey, [your team name] had a great game last week! Have you been a lifelong fan? Are you originally from there?". If they have a picture of the family and kids, ask about how old they are or if you have kids, maybe they go to the same school or there is a school rivalry. You are looking for anything you have in common to open the door for a conversation.

Another thing to keep in mind is that people are busy. Especially people with children and active lives outside of work. If you are a younger dev or a person with no kids, chances are you have way more time than people who have to worry about getting a bunch of kids to various school events, after school stuff, etc. Those people may not have time to go catch a movie or go to happy hours.

Just be friendly, find some people with similar interests, and take baby steps. Start with a casual chat at the watercooler, move it up to going to grab lunch together, and then work it up to a after work happy hour. Don't expect to become best buds or inseparable after only a couple weeks.

  • I appreciate the input. Some of this might be inherently obvious to some, but it wasn't too me, which is why I asked. Thanks again!
    – Ronnie W
    Nov 22, 2016 at 20:51
  • @RonnieW. - Start with lunch.
    – user8365
    Nov 23, 2016 at 16:35

Do not miss any social invitation.

Whenever a company event is planned, go for it: afterworks, company parties ... A lot happens during these company events, and they are going to be one of the hot topics for the days following them. You want to be there so you can discuss this with your colleagues. Having a common ground for discussion is already a big step forward when trying to befriend someone.

Same goes whenever someone calls for a coffee break, or for a team lunch, go for it.

Be patient.

Actual friendship takes time to build. Start with acquaintances you are comfortable having lunch with, and who can have a short discussion when you feel like talking.

Friendships are a two-way relation. You want to invest time to make friends, but these prospective friends also have to invest their own time to become friends with you. You have to let them feel you are worth this time - and this is where the first part of the answer is important.

  • 1
    I think be patient is a great idea.
    – user8365
    Nov 23, 2016 at 16:34

Don't try to befriend the entire group en masse. Strike up one-on-one conversations.

If you have trouble breaking the ice with somebody with personal topics, do it with business needs. Identify an expert in one area and ask if you can meet over sandwiches so he/she can explain the subject to you in more detail.


It is work and you have been there 3 weeks. Focus on work. Limit socialization to breaks and lunch even if others socialize during work time. Get established as a worker. 3 months in or 1 year in you can start joking around during work time. If there is a lunch room that is a good place to socialize.

  • 3 months in and you stop going there, people won't even notice Nov 27, 2016 at 18:27

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