Getting Social: Tips for Making Friends While on Assignment

It can be tough being the “new girl” or “new guy” on the job. Portions of the workday you may have taken for granted in the past—such as coffee breaks, outdoor walks, lunch conversations or even after-work happy hours—may now seem like a gaping hole in your current reality. But have no fear! The beauty of travel assignments for healthcare professionals is the ample opportunities they provide. You have an entire facility of new people to meet, and that can pave the way for lasting friendships, even after your assignment ends. Still, it can be stressful to take the first step to make new friends. When getting to know your new coworkers, it helps to remember this one important piece of advice:

For most people, their favorite topic of conversation is themselves.

That’s right. When approaching people for the first time, break the ice by making comments or asking questions that can lead to a conversation—about them. Compliment a coworker’s outfit or jewelry, comment on a picture on his or her desk or work station, or ask how his or her weekend adventures went.

Once you internalize this mantra, use it to your advantage, along with the following friend-making tips:

  • Check your bad mood at the door. It’s OK to be cranky once in awhile—everyone is human. But when you’re getting to know people for the first time, take a look at yourself and ask, “Am I acting like someone I would want to talk to?” If the answer is no, give yourself an attitude readjustment, smile and be as positive and friendly as you can without coming across as insincere.
  • Observe the corporate culture. In an attempt to fit in, when you first begin your new assignment, pay close attention to how everyone acts. Do they greet each other in the morning, hang out by the coffee pot and gab about TV episodes, etc.? Or does everyone show up and quietly retreat to their offices or work stations? By figuring out the times during the day when your teammates let their social sides shine, you can find your opportunity to strike up a conversation.
  • Ask for introductions. More than likely, a coworker has been assigned to help you get up-to-speed with your new position. Ask to be introduced to all the people you’ll be in contact with on a daily basis. This is a fast, easy way to begin getting to know your coworkers.
  • Be a little outgoing. Don’t be so pushy that it frightens people, but once you’ve gotten to know your coworkers a little bit inside the office, begin looking for opportunities to hang out after work. For example, if you’ve been talking with someone about a certain movie or actor, suggest going to see his or her newest release at the theatre. A different approach could be asking for recommendations for good coffee shops, restaurants, book stores, shopping centers or bars in the area, and inviting the person to come along.
  • Seek out others who are new. They’re usually quite easy to spot. If you notice other teammates without lunch or coffee break companions, approach them, introduce yourself and ask if they’re also new in town. This can be a great chance to get to know each other and explore the city together as first-timers.

Don’t get discouraged

Some facility cultures are colder than others, and it may take time for other employees to warm up to you. Don’t take it personally. Keep your chin up and win them over with your charm. Also, remember that your assignment is only temporary. If you simply can’t mesh with your current coworkers, you’ll soon be traveling to another city with a whole new set of people you can befriend. Always stay positive!

Are you a healthcare professional looking for travel placement?

See new cities and meet new people when you work with MedPro Staffing. We place healthcare professionals like yourself in exciting positions across the country. To learn what adventures await, contact us today.

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