What To Do When You Don’t Fit In At Work

By Ryan Morris
Jul. 17, 2022
Articles In Life At Work Guide

Find a Job You Really Want In

If you’re new to the company or you have been there for a while, it’s important to fit in at work and get along with your coworkers.

If you don’t feel like you fit in at work don’t worry, we will go over what to do to fit in better and give reasons why you might think that way.

Key Takeaways:

  • When trying to fit in at work you should identify the problem and know if it is you or your coworkers that are the issue.

  • It’s important to focus on the positives and put yourself out there when fitting in at work.

  • Fitting in at work is important because it helps your coworkers be more cooperative with you, you’re more connected in the company culture, and you will have a better work experience.

What to do If You Don't Fit in at Work.

What to do When You Don’t Fit in at Work

If you want to fit in at work, there are some steps you should follow:

  1. Identify the problem. The first step to fitting in at work is figuring out whether it’s a problem with how people perceive you or how you perceive yourself. You might be guilty of getting hung up on the wrong things like popularity. In these cases, it’s more a matter of adjusting your mindset to not be so self-centered and high school-esque.

    On the flip side, if you’re experiencing genuine animosity or just plain avoidance at work, it’s worth addressing the problem. Below are strategies that help you do just that.

  2. Focus on the positives. Surely, there’s something you do that people like and respect.

    Think about situations where people seem to warm up to you — maybe it happens when you compliment their work or take time to listen about their weekend. Start emphasizing these moments and making them more frequent (without going overboard).

    When you come at it from a position of “do more right” rather than “do less wrong,” you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself and the situation as a whole.

  3. Put yourself out there. Especially at new jobs, we have a tendency to play it safe and only expose the most accessible parts of our personalities. It’s safe, but it’s also tough to find common ground and really connect with people on a deeper level.

    Try striking up conversations about more than just weather and weekend plans. You don’t have to become best buds with everyone and have inside jokes with the whole office, but creating these personal connections will make your relationships at work feel more meaningful. This will do wonders for your mental health.

  4. Talk to a mentor. Sometimes, everything we can think to try just doesn’t work. That’s where mentors come in. These trusted allies can be coworkers, supervisors, or people outside of your current workplace entirely. However, for the purpose of this article, it’s most useful to find one person you can connect with at work.

    Discuss your feelings of being an outsider with this trusted individual and see if they have some advice for altering your approach to workplace relationships.

  5. Be a follower. All right, we know you’ve been told to “be yourself” your whole life, but we’ve all got to make adjustments to fit in with the various social circles in our lives. Don’t go changing your fundamental values or anything, but in the same vein as the tip above, focus on what works in your office environment.

    If people really seem to enjoy small talk, get involved in more conversations. If folks love competing for sales numbers, adopt a competitive attitude. A spirit of camaraderie develops from shared goals and struggles — do your best to be part of the team and take part in a collective sense of accomplishment and responsibility.

  6. Be proactive. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to approach your coworkers or regularly strike up conversations with them, you should do so. If this is awkward for you to do one-on-one, try inviting a big group of coworkers out for drinks or to dinner.

    You want to find some common ground with somebody, and that takes spending time with them and learning about them.

  7. Cooperate. While you’re at work, make sure you’re actually cooperating with your coworkers. Turning your stuff in on time, keeping up with meetings and other work events, and taking the time to better integrate yourself into the office dynamic can all go a long way toward making you look like a team player.

  8. Alter your style. If it’s the company culture that’s stymying your friend-making, consider…shall we say, altering your style to suit the company.

    Again, you’re under no obligation to try to conform to the culture that’s around you — especially if you’re not a fan of said culture — but if it doesn’t bother you, then conforming is the fastest way to fit in. Think the opposite of every 1980s movie about being true to yourself.

The Importance of Fitting in at Work

Not “fitting in” is only a problem if it bothers you. If you’re perfectly comfortable being the black sheep of your office, then, by all means, keep doing what you’re doing. There’s no reason for you to change your behavior if you don’t really care about whether or not the people around you like you.

That being said, there are a few obvious downsides to not being a popular presence in the office:

  • People will be less cooperative with you. You might find you’re not getting updated as frequently as others as to the general goings-on of the company. This can be bad if the company starts to go under, or if there’s some other kind of information that the company is generally keeping under wraps.

  • The fewer people you like at work, the less connected you’re going to be to the corporate culture. And thus to potential promotions or other benefits that might come from playing nice.

  • Bad work experience. If you’re a social sort of person, working can be a hassle if you’re not at least on friendly terms with the people around you. This can also result in a harder time working with a team or a group at work.

Reasons You May Think You Don’t Fit in at Work

Here are a few signs that the culture of your company is untenable for you:

  • The companies or your coworkers priorities don’t match your own. Everyone’s priorities seem out of whack to you, like you’re the only sane person in the office.

  • There are definite cliques. And you’re not in any of them. This is a pretty clear indicator that you’re not fitting in very well. This could cause a feeling of being unconnected at work. This could cause you to lose out on opportunities that other coworkers might get.

  • You don’t like the work that you’re doing. If you don’t like your job, hate your coworkers, and — on top of all that — aren’t interested in your company’s culture, then the job probably just isn’t for you.

  • Your manager is unfriendly. If you aren’t fitting in with the rest of the group, your manger might not be as friendly to you as they are the others. They my be more critical of your work and may not be as willing to help you out with a problem.

What If I Just Don’t Fit In With The Culture?

If you’re not interested in — or capable of — making friends, then there’s something else you probably want to consider as well.

Maybe it’s not you — it’s them.

It’s entirely possible that your company’s corporate culture just doesn’t jive with whatever kind of energy you yourself are currently slinging out into the world.

In cases like these, there are only two real options available to you:

  1. First, if the situation is at least tolerable — if not ideal — then it might be worth it for you to stick it out anyway. This is a particularly good option if you’re comfortable with your current place in the company, since not having a lot of friends is sure to impact your chances of being promoted.

  2. Second, you could just quit. In the event that your company’s culture is bad for you or just bad period, no amount of friends are ever going to fix the situation for you.

Final Thoughts

That’s all for this one! But keep one thing in mind: If you don’t fit in at your place of work, it might be them, or it might be you — but in either case, the result is pretty much the same.

It might be time to start looking for a new job.

If things are this miserable and you’re having this much difficulty making friends, things aren’t magically going to get better for you.

For your sanity, you should at least think about starting to look for a job in a different company. Maybe one where the culture is a little more your speed?

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Articles In Life At Work Guide
Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Ryan Morris

Ryan Morris was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog who tried to make the job process a little more entertaining for all those involved. He obtained his BA and Masters from Appalachian State University.

Related posts

Topics: Guides