Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dear Danielle,

I have a new(ish) job - I'm coming up to my 1 year anniversary. I've been working with the same group of about 30 people (mostly female) and still after all this time I find them so cliquey! It seems like no matter what I try and do: offer them Starbucks on a daily basis, chat them up, ask for help with my work when needed so they know I appreciate their opinions, always do as asked...they just don't include me in their group. I am starting to dread going to work because I know that I am not included. I kept thinking of if I just acted nice and friendly they would open up, but they haven't! Should I give up trying to make friends at work or is there a good strategy I am not trying?

"Colleagues but not Confidants"

Dear "Colleagues but not Confidants,"

Don't take your eye off the ball. Work is not for play. Focus on exceeding in your career, impressing your boss, keeping your job and hopefully even getting promoted. I applaud you that you have made such an effort to be-friend your colleagues. However, it doesn't seem like they are that interested in a friendship with you - for whatever reason (possibly they are intimidated by you.) Spend your time and energy breathing life into new projects at work and doing the best job you can. Possibly you need to get to know one or two of your colleagues on a one-to-one basis, away from the cliques of the office. So if you still aren't ready to give up pursuing work place friendships, invite the two colleagues who you like/relate to the most out for lunch one day - even under the guise it is work related. Maybe away from peer pressure you will develop some camaraderie. But if not, don't let this get to you. Remember friendships can and should be made in many contexts but work is not necessarily one of them.

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