17 Jul Making Friends in Your Remote Internship
Making friends while working a remote internship can be challenging, there’s no doubt about that. Without being in the same space day in and day out, you may assume it simply isn’t possible. But this is NOT true! Making friends virtually through your online internship is not only an absolutely crucial aspect of a healthy work relationship, but it also is easier than you think. Remember, you aren’t the only one who wants to engage with others at work! Follow these tips to better make friends during your remote internship.
The best way to start off on the right foot is to introduce yourself to absolutely everyone that you can. You have one opportunity to make a great first impression—no pressure!
Use this time to set yourself up for success while learning a bit more about your surroundings. A good introduction can help you establish exactly who you are as an intern. While introducing yourself, give them something interesting to build upon. A generic introduction doesn’t allow your coworkers anything to go off of, nor does it open the door for more personalized conversations. Also, find out where your coworkers are from. You might get lucky and find out you have a secret neighbor! If you have a colleague in the same city as you, especially if your company has employees in a wide range of places, this can help you get one step closer to a friendship.
Pro-tip: When people ask how your day is going, instead of a general “it’s good” instead remark on something specific. It could be the weather (maybe your predominantly sunny city is seeing some much needed rain?) or it could be something else such as a pet is near (you are obligated to then show the pet). This opens up the other person to reply with something more personal, helping take you both out of autopilot conversation and more toward a real conversation between two human beings. Once you’ve completed step one, you’re one step closer to making friends.
Slack Or Teams Away!
Whatever communication tool your internship has provided you with is there for a reason. Ask questions about others’ work and follow up. Sending a quick “good morning” message and asking how someone’s day is can be an easy fix to foster relationships in a seamless workplace intended way. Some methods of communication for remote internships allow you to send gifs and emojis to further aid in a fun chat. Regardless of what kind of software your company uses, this is where the majority of your day to day communication will live, so get to know it well. (And use it!)
Virtual Coffee For 2 Please
It might seem silly because it’s virtual, but asking someone to grab a virtual coffee can be an additionally great way to foster relationships while working a remote internship. Reach out to colleagues individually for an informal chat. No need to take over someone’s calendar, simply ask them when they have a 15 minute time slot free and show up ready to learn more about them on a personal level. This is a great time to discuss your shared interests, ask for advice, or even discuss overall career goals. Here is where making friends can cross into networking in a really rewarding and simple way. By building a one on one relationship with your coworkers, you are one step closer to making friendships that enrich your work experience, while furthering your own personal career!
It can be so tempting as a remote intern to simply stay quiet in the background of meetings and leave that mute button on. DON’T! You were invited to this meeting for a reason so contribute where you can! By asking questions, you show interest in what those around you are saying, and this can go a long way in helping you connect and make friends with your colleagues. That being said, make sure to mute when it is appropriate (you don’t want to be the person constantly interrupting) but don’t be scared to allow yourself to speak. Meetings are a large part of a remote internship and a place where you may be evaluated on your work by other colleagues. Show you’re present and engaged!
Zoom Yoga Anyone?
Many companies host virtual social events to help their employees socialize and blow off steam. Popular events include fitness classes such as yoga, trivia, and other games. Try to participate and sign up for these events! Not only is it a free way to add some fun to your work day, it’s also a great way to meet your coworkers in a more relaxed and conversational setting. Additionally, some companies keep separate Slack or Teams channels dedicated to specific hobbies or passions. Try joining one that fits with your interests, and engage! Or join one you know nothing about but are interested in learning more. You might find a new tribe of like minded colleagues at your online internship.
Give It Time
Nothing makes fast workplace friends like a shared project or task. Give yourself time to allow relationships to build naturally. As long as you maintain a friendly and approachable exterior, you should have no issue building friendships with the colleagues at your remote internship. The energy you give off goes a long way, so by keeping yourself positive and engaged in your own work and the work of the company, others will be more drawn to learn more about you and hopefully become a friend. Show a real interest in others’ and their work and you are sure to enable those around you to seek you out.
And remember, it takes time and effort to build relationships, so be patient and persistent in how you approach this. Be open, engaged, and generally fun to be around in order to attract new friends. Genuinely develop an interest in your peers and before you know it you’ll have established meaningful connections during your remote internship. Good luck!