Connecting Better This Season

With summer in full swing, the opportunities for connecting with others outside of the daily grind are expanding. All the sunshine and post-work BBQs start bringing people together who may typically keep to themselves. Rather than waiting for the awkward scenario in which you're standing next to a coworker you barely know at the next picnic making uncomfortable small talk, why not take the initiative to spend quality time with your colleagues and acquaintances?

Learn the best approaches to getting better acquainted to your various connections using Identity Mapping this season. By tailoring your interactions to the social needs and values of the people you meet, you increase the likelihood of a positive experience (for both of you!).

If you're unfamiliar with Identity Mapping, you can read more about it here.

Connecting with the Action Way

The Action Way loves nothing more than, as the name suggests, taking action! Consider going on a walk through the park on a break, or getting their help on a big spring cleaning project. They love getting things done and making progress, so finding a way to connect with them through an activity they can "win" at is a great way to bond. They'll be your go-to for trying that new restaurant or spearheading a big, exciting task.

Connecting with the Organized Way

Schedule a lunch date or post-work coffee, but whatever you do, plan in advance. The Organized Way will respect a polite request to get together outside of work, especially if it's doing something they already know and love. Find out where their favorite haunts are, and head there for some post-work catching up. Better yet, consider arranging a weekly lunch or afternoon break to spend time more consistently with them this summer.

Connecting with the Logical Way

The Logical Way loves solving puzzles or being involved in coming up with a solution to a problem. If you're wanting to spend more time with someone who is the Logical Way, consider inviting them to a trivia night or getting their help on a tricky side project at work. If you're wanting to get to know your Logical colleague better, avoid small talk and delve deeper into a more niche topic or subject. They'll enjoy discussing a single topic more in depth than superficially covering a variety of subjects, so something they're passionate about, and have a thoughtful discussion with them about it.

Connecting with the Relationship Way

Your Relationship Way coworkers are always happy for some personal catching up! Make a list (could be a mental list) of interesting personal prompts to chat with them about. What was their favorite vacation as a kid? What is the best gift they ever received? Asking these kinds of genuine, probing questions and then actually listening to their answers will make your Relationship Way colleagues feel valued and important. Consider doing this at an outdoor seating area to enjoy the sunshine.

When in doubt, the best way of making plans that will be well-received is to ask! All four way appreciate clear communication and getting their genuine opinion on activities. Asking an open-ended question about what they want to do might seem basic, but many of us of inadvertently make decisions without getting real input. Consider offering a few choices of meeting place or activity, and then let them decide overall. This takes the work out of brainstorming, but still gives your colleague and opportunity to decide with you.

Getting to know your colleagues doesn't require becoming best friends. Finding ways to connect personally can help you better understand their perspectives when back at work. You'll find it easier to empathize. 

About the Author

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Taylor McDonald is a social scientist with a BA degree in Psychology and a MSc degree in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology. She is interested in how culture affects communication and how cultural awareness impacts success, and is passionate about emotional intelligence development.

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