Making Friends In The Workplace

In some cultures, it is easy to make friends in the workplace.   Perhaps it is customary to do so.   But in some cultures, this may not be the case.

I work with ESL clients from around the world.   At times, they wish they had more friends in the workplace here, just like back home.  Especially in office where employees are in cubicles.  I hear that sometimes they email or text each other even if they are in the same section of cubicles, just feet away.

For immigrants new to this country, they may be unsure how to go about making friends with American co-workers.   What is appropriate, what is not.   How would their co-workers respond?

Making Friends in the workplace

The article How to make friends with co-workers in the workplace for immigrants offers practical tips on this topic.   Some of them revolve around food.   That makes sense.   It’s easy to build rapport when you share a meal with someone.   You don’t even have to share a meal.   It can just be offering a cookie, a special snack from your culture.   This is a symbol of hospitality.  It warms people up.   Just look at the smile on your co-worker’s face when you offer her a special treat from your country.

People like to be included.   Ask them to join you and a few co-workers for a drink after work.   Or if there’s a soccer game on TV, you can invite your soccer fans at work to join you at a sports bar and watch it together.   It is easy to bond over a game.  Remember the Seahawks in Seattle?   Strangers were hugging each other when we won!   Drivers were tooting their horn in celebration.    And if you feel comfortable, you can invite your colleagues to watch the game at your home.   And provide some snacks.

You can read the rest of the article  How to make friends with co-workers in the workplace for immigrants here.

If you find this helpful, here is another blog on Feeling Connected in a New Country you might also like.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email

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