Starting a new job, whether it’s the first step in what you hope will be a life-long career or just a stopgap to keep you going in the short term, can be scary.

It’s not just the prospect of learning new skills and impressing your boss that’s daunting, but also the idea of having to forge relationships with your colleagues.

This is all the more challenging when you are getting dropped into a team of people who already know each other well.

It’s easy to feel like the outsider in this scenario, so being proactive in making connections and fitting in is useful. Here are a few tips on managing the social side of starting a new job to reduce those first day jitters.

Communicate consistently with all employees

As mentioned, you could zero in on making a good impression on your boss as a new hire, but that shouldn’t be done at the expense of your other interactions with colleagues of the same seniority as you or lower.

Aim to engage with everyone respectfully and positively, rather than brushing aside opportunities to interact with more junior team members. Aside from this being a basic principle of politeness, it’s useful because you never know where others might end up in the future, and that intern you ignore today could end up as your boss in years to come.

Be yourself as much as possible

If you are a bit of a closed book, then it’ll be hard for others to make a meaningful connection with you. The old advice of ‘be yourself’ is not just about following your instincts, but rather about having the confidence to show others what you are all about, whatever the scenario.

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This approach can also help you to find inspiration in the workplace. When you find your creative voice, you will be better equipped to express yourself to your workmates. In turn this should make your job more satisfying and emotionally rewarding, rather than it feeling like a means to an end.

With more and more people working remotely, it can be tricky to follow this particular piece of advice. The best answer is to make sure that you are an active participant in virtual meetings, and not just passively sitting there without making a contribution.

It’s hard to do this while starting a new job, but if you don’t break the ice as soon as possible, it will only get tougher to avoid clamming up as time passes.

Fulfill your professional obligations & be responsive

This is a fancy way of saying ‘do your job well’, but it bears thinking about, because even if you consider yourself to be a people person, you could become a pariah if you aren’t delivering on what you have promised.

If you really want to click with colleagues, don’t just work hard on the responsibilities you have on your plate, but also show that you care about your contribution by following up.

Likewise if you feel that you don’t understand something, or you won’t be able to hit a deadline, speak up about this as well. Honesty and humility are good policies to adopt.

Take the initiative

This has been a running theme, and for good reason; don’t sit back and expect others to come to you when starting a new job. Put yourself out there, and also be receptive to the thoughts and feelings of your new colleagues.

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Everyone is different, and not every approach for workplace relationship-building will be straightforward to follow, but it is better to push yourself and strive to be better, rather than sticking in your comfort zone.