Whether you just celebrated your graduation or you鈥檙e thinking about transitioning into your dream job, the struggle is real when it comes to making friends in a new workplace. It makes total sense: When you鈥檙e busy learning the ins and outs of your new gig and adapting to your company鈥檚 culture, work relationships can easily take a backseat. But by focusing on building friendships with your coworkers, you can make all the hours you spend at your job a little bit more meaningful 鈥 not to mention fun.

Ready to dive in and forge new friendships (and maybe even your new work BFF?) at your job? Here are four strategies for making connections that last.

coworkers talking

1. Be yourself, not who you think you should be. Dr. Kat Cohen, founder and CEO of Ivywise and one of the leading independent admissions counselors in the world, says attempting to 鈥渞ecreate鈥 yourself for a new job can be tempting. But since you鈥檒l be most confident when you鈥檙e simply being yourself, it鈥檚 best not to try to reinvent yourself at work. 鈥淕o into your first day feeling confident in who you already are; since you got the position, it is clear your company already likes you,鈥 she tells Brit + Co.

2. Find the right balance between personal and professional. While it鈥檚 counterproductive to hide who you truly are at work, it鈥檚 also important to stay professional on the job. Dr. Cohen recommends presenting your best self by dressing appropriately, speaking with authority and confidence, and staying engaged in conversations with coworkers. Make an effort to meet as many members of your company as possible, even those you don鈥檛 anticipate working with directly. 鈥淭reat each greeting as an opportunity to practice not only presenting your best self, but also allowing your coworkers to get a glimpse of your personality and the traits that make you unique,鈥 she says.

3. Challenge yourself to say 鈥測es.鈥 Of course, every company has its own culture, but most jobs offer opportunities for employees to connect and socialize, from after-work events like happy hours or work-related community service projects. It may be tempting to skip out on extracurricular activities (especially when you鈥檙e off the clock), but remember, these are your opportunity to forge new connections without the distraction of your normal work.

鈥淪eeing your coworkers outside of the office will help you focus on building relationships with them without having to worry about your to-do list for the day,鈥 Dr. Cohen says. Even if you鈥檙e nervous, Dr. Cohen recommends disconnecting from your phone and being as present as possible at work-related events. And don鈥檛 be afraid to speak up and ask questions 鈥 it鈥檚 the only way you鈥檒l be able to break the ice and start building authentic relationships with your coworkers.

4. Be a team player from day one. 鈥淲hen you鈥檙e the newest member of a company, it鈥檚 easy to feel like you always have a get out of a jail free card in the back of your pocket 鈥 you can rationalize leaving early or letting coworkers take the lead because you are new and still figuring things out,鈥 Dr. Cohen says. But to win over your colleagues, it鈥檚 important to be proactive from the start. Lending a helping hand will not only help you get up to speed on your new job quickly, it will also show your coworkers (and your boss!) that you鈥檙e supportive, engaged, and ready to help the team succeed.

What鈥檚 your favorite way to connect with your coworkers? Tell us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)