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7 Ways to Get Along With Colleagues at Work

You don’t necessarily have to be friends with your work colleagues, but you do need to be friendly to them. Read on for fresh ways to make your work environment a happier place to be-for everyone involved.

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1. Say a Cheery “Hello” to Your Colleagues Each Morning

Do you plod into the office, eyes down, shoulders slumped, and immediately start work? If so, you’re likely to find that colleagues ignore you (at best) or avoid you (at worst). Get into the habit of smiling and greeting everyone as you arrive in the morning or begin your shift. It’s amazing how fast this little courtesy can thaw chilly workplace relations.

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2. Engage Your Colleagues in Small Talk

Ask your colleagues about their interests -their favourite music, films, books, hobbies. Showing a genuine interest in them-even through small talk-will make them feel more comfortable around you.

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3. Join Your Colleagues in a Sports Team

Many offices have a sports team, be it dodgeball, squash, or tennis, and joining in is a great way to enjoy some exercise while you get to know your colleagues in an informal setting.

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4. Accept Good-Natured Teasing from Colleagues

Other workers sometimes play jokes and tease to test what kind of person you are. So if they poke fun at your new shoes or mischievously put a funny screensaver on your computer, don’t get angry. Let them know that you enjoy a good joke-if it’s sometimes on you. Of course, if the teasing is personal (about your weight or ethnicity, for example), and makes it difficult for you to do your job or makes you feel uncomfortable because of its sexual implications, you may need to take up the matter with your supervisor.

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5. Ask Your Colleagues What They Think

People love to be asked their opinion, so go out of your way to ask, “What do you think is missing from this report?” or “How do you think I should handle this situation with X?” Then give the advice-giver a sincere thank you, even if the ideas are less than helpful.

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6. Avoid Gossip

You don’t want anyone talking behind your back, so return the favour. When a colleague sidles up to you bearing a juicy tidbit of gossip about an office romance or someone’s impending dismissal, respond with, “Really?”, then change the subject or get back to work. If you don’t respond, the gossiper will move on-and you’ll retain the trust and respect of your colleagues.

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7. Learn How to Deal With Difficult Colleagues

When dealing with a difficult colleague, pretend your children are watching. This simple visualization technique will help you to keep a cool head. After all, you’ve taught your children to have good manners. With them “watching,” it will be difficult to stoop to the level of your infuriating colleague.

Related links:

3 Ways to Be a Better Co-Worker
10 Tips for a Happier Workplace 
5 Ways to Be More Productive at Work