Psychology Now: 3 Simple Ways to Know Your Coworker

September 17, 201811:52 am550 views

The fact that you are a new hire in the company already makes you nervous. Upon arriving at your cubicle, you have no idea what to do as your supervisor has not assigned you any task yet. You want to ask people around but they seem busy and unreachable. So you just sit around and wait until someone invite you in a conversation. Unfortunately, everyone just throws a glance at you but none come to say ‘hi’.

Well, it seems that you have no other choice than putting a bold face and initiating a conversation with the nearest person.

The case will be different if you already spend months in the company, as you will not get anxious to talk to your coworkers. Nevertheless, you still find it awkward to talk to them as you are not close with them. So instead of telling your rough day at home or work, the best you can manage to utter is those small talks regarding trivial things such as how is the weather today or what you will you have for lunch.

Whichever you are at the illustrations above, you cannot just ignore people’s existence around you. In the workplace, you need to socialise and communicate with your coworkers as you need to work and collaborate with them. So if you do not want to be merely “acquaintance” and want to actually get to know your workmate better, here’s what you can do:

See also: 4 Effective Problem-Solving Steps to Ramp Up Employee’s Problem-Solving Skills


  • Glance at your coworker’s desk


This is a very simple and effective way if you want to know your peers better. According to Bernheimer as cited in Boult (2016), the way you arrange your desk can reveal a lot about your personality. For instance, you can assume that your workmate is an extrovert if their desk is more likely to be colourful, chaotic, and cluttered. Yet, if the desk is stylish, unusual workspace, and distinctive, this can indicate that they are more creative, adaptive, and intellectual individual.

Therefore, take a look at your coworker’s desk to identify what kind of personality they have. After learning about their types of the personality, you can learn the right strategy to get closer with your coworkers.


  • Ask one question away


If you already know your workmate a little, you can do this. Ask one question about what they think of other people, then pay attention to the answer as this will reveal a lot about themselves.

The study of Wood (2010), which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, reveals that the way someone describes other people can reflect to their own personality, for example “a huge suite of negative personality traits is associated with viewing others negatively.”


  • Be a good listener


This is a very effective way if you are a small-talker. Being a listener is not a passive activity as you need to demonstrate some signs that you are actively engaged in the conversation such as nodding, smiling, and giving your best attention and response if the speaker asks you questions.

According to Breazeale (2011) an author of Duct Tape Isn’t Enough and a writer in Psychology today, listening is an effective way to get to know people as you can get closer and make a bond with the person you talk to. Being a good listener also brings you closer to the others because the way you try to understand them can make them feel safe and comfortable around you.

Read also: Knowledge is Power: Why Mature Employes are Valuable in the Workforce