The Anti-Social Socialite’s Guide to Forming Friendships with Coworkers


Hey you! Yeah, the guy that likes to stand in the corner at parties and scroll through his weather app in an effort to avoid conversation. The guy who lies in bed thinking about that one time in 7th grade at a party when everyone was doing funny celebrity impressions and he tried to do a Mickey Mouse voice but his voice cracked because of puberty and the whole room went silent. Who lies in bed every Sunday night with the lights on and is haunted by that memory as the fundamental reason why he wasn’t cool in high school and how if time travel existed, he could rewind time to undo that moment and save his last name from continual shame. Yeah, you…

Well have no fear! The reclusive, agoraphobic, Vitamin-D-deficient summer you imagined might no longer be a reality with the recently developed social phenomenon called ***friends***. You’ve rewatched The Office seven times and now it’s time to recreate all those wacky, zany moments without the looming life lessons and marital problems! As a fresh new intern at the company you were “so incredibly excited to announce on LinkedIn,” it’s never too late to extend a clammy hand from across the cubicle to make a life-long best friend. Or at least someone with whom to enjoy a cold sandwich in the office break room as you repel your encroaching inner darkness. Regardless of your conversation preference over a nice rye slice, it’s time to get social! Here’s a step-by-step guide to rival WikiHow using the MEEP System.

1. Making the Approach

Consistency is key. When introducing yourself to coworkers, keep your voice at a constant level. Any inflection, whether loud or soft, could startle your coworkers and cause them to flee. The best strategy is to approach them with your palm outstretched to let them smell you and absorb your trustworthiness. Some coworkers are shyer than others. Food can be a good tool to lower their guard. I usually leave pieces of broken graham crackers or peanut butter on a spoon on their desk, then approach them when they begin eating to broker peace. Remember, the cubicle is their personal space, so approval is a MUST if you want this friendship to last. 

Note: Your outfit is important. We’ve all seen Johnny Bravo: he’s so cool and confident and *seldom* gnashes his teeth when interacting with a member of the opposite sex. Remember the phrase “Be Like Johnny” to absorb his charisma and say “Hey yo” at EVERY possible occasion. If I had a nickel for every friend I’ve made looking like Johnny, I could finally afford the emotionally stunting Banana Republic Credit Card debt these damned blue jeans have cost me. 

2. Engaging in Conversations

Find a common interest! It’s imperative that you find something that sparks your coworker’s interest. I often leave sticky notes on my coworkers’ desks with simple phrases like “Rock Climbing?” or “The Balkans?” and peer over my cubicle to judge their facial expressions. Everybody likes to talk about themselves, so buckle up and ask about their favorite foods, TV shows, relatives and allergies to absorb all aspects of their personhood. Appear engaged with active facial expressions like smiling, frowning and surprise, but don’t forget to rotate through them. Avoid wailing and/or gnashing of teeth. 

Small talk is the best way to extend your conversation. Talk about the big game happening tonight (there is only ever one big game each night) or the new episode of that TV show that came out. Simply say “Did you hear about the thing yesterday?” and as long as you avoid any formal nouns, you can dance your way around conversations with perpetual ambiguity! Hobbies, interests and passions no more! You can clumsily meander your way through any water cooler conversation with a stiff-lipped smile and a small trickle of sweat running down your forehead. 

3. Extending the Invitation

It’s finally time to go outside! Leave the confines of your dimly lit bedroom and explore everything the outdoors has to offer with Mike from Accounting. On a Casual Friday afternoon, invite your newly acquired friend for Happy Hour or appetizers. Frolic in the park or galavant through the Warehouse District. Invite them to your house and cook for them, even split a bottle of wine. You’re more of a white wine guy but you’re willing to compromise with a nice pinot to prevent another year of standing in the corner at holiday office parties. With friends, anything is possible, from a Sunday round of golf to robbing a WellsFargo (it’s morally justified). Read Tarot cards or attend Sunday Mass! Your other coworkers will get so jealous of all the time you spend with Mike from Accounting that they will begin to approach you unannounced. Janice from HR might even tell you “We need to talk,” which means more friends! 


Look at you with all your new best friends! Keep the friendships secure by maintaining active conversations and activities to make sure they can’t forget you. Send Game Pigeon invites or good night texts or both! I have personally constructed a Microsoft Teams Bot to send everyone in my office a hilarious cat GIF and “Goodnight Moon” verse before bedtime. Schedule weekly board game nights where you yell a *little* bit too much over Pete putting a hotel on Park Place after you already had to pay him for his four railroads. Bastard.

At the end of the summer, it’s time to wave farewell to your new friends and begin a new chapter of your life. Maybe your return offer was lost in the mail, but remember that your cubicle left an indelible mark on your company’s history. With this guide, whatever city, company or cell you arrive in next will just be another milestone in your journey toward being an extrovert! 

  • May 26, 2022