Keeping our social lives out of the workplace is easier said than done. After all, these are the people that we spend eight hours a day with. That’s right, we spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our own spouses, partners, and children. While there are plenty of offices that are good at keeping it business only, many are now focusing on teamwork and are bringing in team building events to promote camaraderie among coworkers. But what happens when everyone is gelling nicely, except for us? Follow these great strategies for dealing when you feel left out at work.
Change of mindset
Rather than trying to make friends in the workplace, focus on creating allies. A friend is someone who is there for us when we need them most. Someone to talk to and confide in without judgment. Someone to spend meaningful time with and enjoy good socializing. This is not what we should be looking for in the workplace, and realizing this could make a world of difference in how we perceive being left out. An ally is someone with whom we share the same goals. Someone that has our back and we have theirs. A mutually beneficial and professional relationship.
Don’t wait for that invitation, do the inviting. Find a great after-hours spot and invite some coworkers to join. Start working on some behind the scenes team building. Nine times out of ten, our coworkers just don’t know us that well and don’t know how to approach us. Taking the first step could make all the difference.
Fine-tune those skills and become noticed because of it. Those who are always in the running for a promotion or are doing exceptionally well are not overlooked by management and are therefore not overlooked by colleagues. It’s hard to not congratulate the highest sales earner or the team member that lands the best deals.
Communication is key
Are we communicating on the right platform? Find out what the preferred office medium is. Texting? Voicenotes? Emails? Or face to face? Whatever it is, make sure to get on board with the way things are done. Somebody who prefers voice notes isn’t going to enjoy reading and endless string of texts, and someone who prefers face to face chats probably won’t bother to reply to our messages.
Don’t take it personally and withdraw
When we assume that we are being excluded, our minds are usually making out to be far worse than it actually is. Changing our perceptions of the situation goes a long way. The worst thing to do is to withdraw and exclude ourselves from all social interactions. This way of thinking will only make matters worse by letting those colleagues know that they are now excluded from us. The last thing we want to do is create a divide where there wasn’t even one to begin with.
At the end of the day, once all of these options have been explored, we need to ask ourselves, “Am I happy here?” Sometimes the office dynamic just doesn’t gel with our personalities. An extremely introverted individual might constantly feel uncomfortable in an office filled with extroverts, and vice versa. There is no shame in exploring our options and possibly moving on to a more suitable working environment.