Bonding with your team isn’t necessary, but it sure as heck makes for a nicer experience.
The thing about family and work colleagues is, you don’t choose them. Now, you can lament in this fact and be miserable at the luck or misfortune of the draw… or you can learn to live with it.
How do you do this?
Well, you start by getting to know them.
See, our brains do this funny thing where they “automate” people in our lives. This is a natural function of the brain, completely useful at times but also something to be mindful of.
You need to be mindful of this because, just as you don’t want others to assume that you are a one-dimensional predictable caricature, they don’t want that either. Being mindful of your automation process with others means you are paying attention to what and who you are assuming them to be.
Let’s say there’s a colleague named Sven, and Sven tends to be very quiet and kind of grouchy. You may just assume, “that’s just Sven”… grumpy, nothing to say, Sven. Your brain has automated him to that character profile and may continue to perceive him as boring, miserable Sven until the day you inevitably go your separate ways.
But what if you took one break with him, just one. You sat down across from him with a cup of tea and asked, “Hey Sven, what do you like to do outside of work?”
Well, then you might just find out that Sven actually doesn’t get much time to himself because Sven is a caretaker to both his elderly sick parents. You might find out he has so much responsibility and obligation for his parent’s sick care, that he hasn’t even been out for so much as a drink, or for dinner, in the last 5 or 6 years.
Now, do you still think of Sven as just lousy and unpleasant? No, you see Sven in a whole new light. You see the goodness in him, the dedication, love and maybe even the suffering in Sven. You start to see his human side, the REAL side, and maybe even find some ways to relate with him.
This is the power of bonding. Asking questions over tea. A warm drink is so disarming and sets the tone for some real, quality, get-to-know-you time.
Another good thing about bonding over tea (or coffee), is that there’s a time frame. All you have is that cuppa amount of time to find out a bit more about this stranger your brain has tricked you into thinking you know.
Now maybe you do this with the rest of your team. You do this with neighbours, and family. Slowly but surely, I guarantee you you will be surprised at how much you didn’t know about the people that surround you ALL the time.