You don’t need to be best friends with your colleagues, but research shows that forging connections at work can make you feel better and help you get things done. That said, creating and maintaining strong workplace bonds can be difficult when you don’t see each other in person — and even more so if you find you just don’t “click” with someone.
There is growing research on the biological and psychological reasons humans click with one another or not. Much of it has to do with body language and brain waves, and whether or not they naturally synchronize with one another. But regardless of whether nature is in your favor, there are small steps you can take to forge a connection.
Give this tip a try to feel more comfortable and connected with someone you don’t click with at work.
Ask to sync up and work together on a task
Working with your colleague on a shared task can help you establish camaraderie — and might show you that you have more similarities than you initially thought. “People are generally more prosocial after a period of synchronous activity,” like working on a project together, Lynden Miles, Ph.D., a senior lecturer at the University of Western Australia’s School of Psychological Science, tells Thrive. “They are more cooperative, have better recall of their interactions, are better able to take the perspective of others, and even experience a boost in self-esteem.”
For synchronous activities in the workplace, try going for a walking meeting with a colleague — either side by side or on the phone if you’re still working remotely. You can also suggest hopping on a Zoom call to work together on a project. As you’ll see, you don’t need grand gestures in order to finally “click” with a colleague. Simply make an effort to collaborate and seek out commonalities, and you’ll feel closer in no time.