3 Tips For When You Don’t Fit In At Work

Ryan Morris
by Ryan Morris
Get The Job, Guides - 3 years ago

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Try as you might, you’re feeling like you might never actually make any friendships at work.

Whether it’s due to a sour attitude, strange hobbies, or maybe just a big red glowing nose, it doesn’t take much for a person to feel like a misfit at their place of work.

Sometimes all it takes is a lackluster introduction and some bad luck, then suddenly, WHAM.

You’re marked for life as the office weirdo.

But fret not! Like an asteroid shooting towards the Earth, there’s always a chance for you to turn around before you explode into a big, fiery mess.

To that end, your friends at Zippia have put together a few solid tips in order to help you find your way out of your inherent weirdness and catapult you into workplace popularity.


1. Why Is “Not Fitting In” Even a Problem?

To answer the question posed by the title of this section, let’s start with an obvious answer:

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.
  • 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.

2. How Do I Make More Work Friends?

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the situation a little more tolerable.

Whether you’re trying to fit in for personal reasons or purely for business, one of the best things you can do is try to make a few friends at work.

Making friends is easy enough — it just takes spending a little extra time showing an interest in the people around you, and it’s a move that pays off.

So even if you’re only making friends is for soulless, purely professional reasons, it can still be a pretty good idea.

Here are a few things you can do to make the process of making friends a little easier on yourself:

  • You should be proactive, first of all — 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

3. 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’s only two real options available to you:

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.

And 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.

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

  • Their values are not 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.
  • 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.

Wrapping Up: Not a Cultural Fit at Work

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:

You really need to start looking for another job already.

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?

Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way:

3 Tips to Making a Lateral Career Move
3 Big Tips For (Avoiding) Lying On Your Resume
3 Tips for Deciding if Grad School is Worth the Trouble

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