How do I make friends at work if we're all on Slack?
August 29, 2016 6:38 PM   Subscribe

I work for a media publisher, and my own small group is 3 other people. I like them enough, but they're a bit younger than me. I've become friendly with them all, but it's the kind of polite "lol" in chat thing, not like "Wanna grab a coffee/beer?" thing. How does someone in their mid-30s navigate an office where almost everyone communicates solely through Slack, even though we all sit feet away from each other. (I'm bad at making the first move in friendships, so I know that it probably first step.)
posted by Peemster to Human Relations (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I guess I should add the org as a whole is about 400 people, with maybe 150-175 on my side of the playing field. Also, I've only been there for barely under a month.
posted by Peemster at 6:39 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ask them (via Slack) to grab lunch? Both of the places I've worked that use it have a #lunch channel or something similar. (There's even a #lunchtrain integration that'll let you gather people.)
posted by asterix at 6:49 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lunch Train.
posted by asterix at 6:51 PM on August 29, 2016 [6 favorites]

Or if you want something more low stakes, when you are discussing a work topic that involves one of them, say something like, "Hey, I'm going to go grab a coffee and continue discussing this?"
posted by mmascolino at 6:59 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Physically get out of your chair. Say out loud, "I'm heading out to get coffee, anybody want to come?"
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:28 PM on August 29, 2016 [10 favorites]

you: hey
you: have you had lunch yet?
them: no
you: want to go soon?
I am also a big over-thinker when communicating through the written word always, but we really both do not have to be. The glory and power of instant messaging is that you can just cough up some thoughts into another person’s stream of consciousness without needing to provide any sort of context or nicety or oblique social maneuvering requiring a pretext and rehearsal in front of a mirror the night before. “Making the first move” becomes so simple! I won’t say it's easy, because you’ve gotta bring yourself to write those words and hit enter, but the gross physical process itself is just about as frictionless as our technology is capable of achieving.

Pick one single person, whoever you trade the most snark with over Slack on a day to day basis now, maybe they sit in the half-cube next to yours, and just make it your Monday 11:30–45 AM goal to drop some lunch-seeking words in their lap. If they bagged lunch or have plans or whatever, just suggest tomorrow?
posted by books for weapons at 8:15 PM on August 29, 2016

To build relationships via Slack you could try sharing gifs, sending cute or funny links, and/or just upping the casual tone of your replies.

For example, instead of "lol," say, "Love it! Haha, I'm dying over here..." or add another joke; or send a gif of somebody clapping. See how they respond and let it build organically.

In person, maybe try things that are easy to decline but nice to accept, like bringing in treats every so often. Stop by their desk and thank them for some amazing work, like, "Just had to say this in person..." If you cross paths in person, find something positive and brief to say, like complimenting their clothes or the recognition of their work.

You could also check with one of them to see what they suggest as a fun thing for you all to do.

Don't force it, but be available.
posted by ramenopres at 9:55 PM on August 29, 2016

Yes to Lunch Train. With that many people you will always have people who want to go, tons of people love going to lunch! You might even get a reputation as Lunch Leader Supreme! Please try to rule with a light touch.

Note this is probably up there with having a smoking habit for interacting with people in other parts of the company and learning about the place you're working.
posted by rhizome at 10:17 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Once you start gleaning information about your coworkers interests, you can use IM to share thoughts on those topics, send interesting articles, etc.
posted by radioamy at 5:26 PM on August 30, 2016

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