Understanding the office social scene is simple – all you have to know is that it’s nuanced and tricky, just like the scene back in the real world. Frankly, not a lot changes over the years – the cool kids that dominated the swing set have now set up camp at the copy machine; feuding jungle gym brigades have reestablished themselves at their respective cubicle clusters; and there’s still the one guy that nobody wanted to invite to go Laser Tagging back in 5th grade, and he’s still tagging along after happy hour. Some may feel that it’s not worth it to get embroiled in this mess, but when you spend many of your waking hours at the office, it’s great to have some comrades to help you get through the day. After all, you have a lot in common with these people already. So read on for some unspoken code:
Don’t Run with the Wrong Crowd
It was the same with all of the bullies or the popular kids who didn’t have time for anyone else in school – the tools in the office will find that everyone is watching and waiting to see them fall. If you’re part of a circle that ostracizes or belittles others – even in a joking way – your relationships with others in the office will slowly crumble. More importantly, this will start to interfere with your work. If people don’t feel like they can trust you or work with you, you may be saying Sayonara to the other sleazebags before you know it.
On a related note, be nice to everyone. Get to know and take an interest in a lot of different people. Doing so will disassociate you from any of the stigma that can go along with office cliques, and you won’t have to worry yourself over workplace drama as much. People will be excited to work with you and share ideas if they know that you are friendly and easy to talk to. And, if you’re friends with everyone in the office, you’ll know you can rely on more people. More than this, building more relationships at work will enrich your office life, as you’ll become acquainted with some pretty neat people.
Know Who your Friends Are
Perhaps one of the deepest senses of betrayal you’ve felt in your life was the first time a so-called friend sold you out to someone else. Instances like these aren’t contained to childhood, when our pals traded their way up to hang out with someone cooler or blamed us for breaking the crystal flower vase. In fact, you’ll find that this can happen frequently in an office if you aren’t more discerning about which relationships to cultivate. Because there is more at stake in an office environment, it’s important to really get to know someone before you can trust them with your hopes, fears, secrets, or personal life. Don’t go telling every coworker how much you hate your boss or that you’re looking for a new job unless you’re curious to see just how quickly such information can find its way up to your superiors (spoiler alert – it doesn’t take very long).
Office buddies are great – they’re the people who will crack a quick joke to snap you out of that dismal, glossy-eyed haze at the computer; they’ll grab a drink with you after a long day; and they’ll joke about the horrendous client that just came in and made your life miserable for the last hour. Above all, they’ll give you something to look forward to when you wake up at the crack of dawn to get to work. Just one more rule: remember to stay businesslike at the office, even if that’s where you met your rowdiest group of buds.
The Doostang Team