7 tips for working more happily with your colleagues

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Gretchen Rubin | Linkedin
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For happiness at work, your relationships with your co-workers matter a lot.

Maybe you have lots of co-workers — or maybe, like me, you work by yourself so you have to fashion your own “colleagues.” Here are seven strategies that I’ve used at various point in my work life:

1. Although some people believe it’s best to keep work life and personal life separate, and therefore avoid making friends with colleagues, for most people, having strong friendships makes work more fun. Science supports this: having close relationships is essential to happiness, strengthens the immune system, and reduces anxiety. However…

2. If you’re in a long-term relationship, avoid creating situations that might put you in the path of temptation.

3. If you work alone, take time to mix with other people. Socializing boosts the moods of introverts, as well as extroverts. I love having long stretches when I work by myself in silence, but I’ve realized that I need to make several appointments each week to put me in contact with other people.

4. Each week, walk around your office and talk to a few people you don’t know well. You’ll feel more comfortable socially, plus knowing more people facilitates work flow. Remember the mere exposure effect, as well: repeated exposure makes people like music, faces, even nonsense syllables, better. That means that the more often you see someone, the more intelligent and attractive that person will seem.

5. Apply the Eighth Personal Commandment: Identify the problem. If a colleague gets under your skin, figure out why. I used to work with a guy who enraged me at every meeting. When I started analyzing his techniques, to understand why he was having that effect on me, I became fascinated with the brilliance of his subtle put-downs. (For a list of his strategies, see my book Power Money Fame Sex, chapter 3.)

6. Apply the Twelfth Commandment: There is only love. This commandment was inspired by a friend who took a job where she knew she’d have a difficult boss. From the beginning, she told herself, “There is only love.” She doesn’t allow herself to criticize her boss, even in her own mind, and won’t listen to anyone else’s criticism. She says it’s tough to do, but it has made her job far easier.

7. Cut people slack. You never know what’s going on in people’s lives, and it’s always better to err on the side of being forgiving, not taking things personally, and trying to see the funny side of circumstances.

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