Meeting people can be kind of scary. Forming connections when you’re starting a new job is intimidating. It can also be a bit daunting to introduce yourself to a new coworker in the office, even if you’ve been in your job a while.
If you’re in the latter position, remember to be thoughtful when you’re speaking with the new person — they’re probably nervous and you’re in the position to put their mind at ease.
In order to make them feel welcome, few things you should definitely avoid saying to your new coworker:
1. ‘You’re cute. Want to go on a date?’
It’s totally inappropriate to put the new person on the spot like this. Wait to get to know them before creating a potentially awkward situation.
2. ‘Don’t hang out with those people … ‘
Even if you have perfectly valid reasons to hate certain people in the office, this just makes you sound incredibly petty. Why would you want to embroil the new person in office politics?
3. ‘I hate our boss/company/coworkers/everything’
It’s not a good idea to trash the higher ups to the new person. Most likely, their loyalties will lie with the boss that just hired them, rather than the grumpy person that keeps leaning over to spout complaints at them.
4. ‘Good luck’
If you’re sincerely wishing this person good luck, that’s fine. But don’t psych them out with sarcasm. That’s just mean.
5. ‘I’d run for the hills now!’ or ‘You’ll probably regret taking this job’
Similarly to the sarcastic version of “Good luck,” these aren’t helpful or encouraging things to say to your new colleague. Let them decide for themselves if this is a great, or terrible, place to work.
6. ‘So, what’s the latest scoop from [their old company]?’
Again, this just makes you sound like an annoying gossip. If they feel like sharing all the weird things that happened to them in their old job, they will.
7. ‘Are you unhappy here so far?’
Whoa. They only just started! This one’s pretty confrontational and unnecessary.
8. ‘They claim this is a rule/policy, but it doesn’t really matter’
Don’t encourage your new coworker to be a rule-breaker on his or her first day.
9. ‘What’s your salary?’
This is unprofessional when it’s directed at people that you’ve worked with for some time. It’s just downright awkward when posed to the person who’s just starting out.
10. ‘Stick with me and you’ll go places’
First of all, immediately offering to mentor someone makes you sound a tad arrogant. Second of all, you don’t know this person! They might be capable of charming you at the water cooler, but that doesn’t mean they’re deserving of your guidance.
11. ‘Here’s everything you need to know to succeed here’
Sure, sharing this kind of information can actually be really helpful. But it’s best to offer a little bit at a time over their first few weeks, and not overwhelm your new coworker right away. Plus, there’s some stuff they should figure out of their own.
12. ‘Hey… you’
Not everybody’s great at remembering names, despite the fact that it’s an important skill to have. However, when speaking with the new person in the office, it’s better to just ask for a reminder instead of guessing their name (or forgoing calling them anything whatsoever). They’re new, so they most likely won’t be offended.
If you step on your new coworker’s foot or spill coffee on them, then apologise. But avoid using “sorry” as a filler word around the new person. It’s such an overused word to begin with, and it might give the new person the wrong impression of you.
The worst thing you can do is just ignore the new person. If they reach out to you or your paths cross, make an effort to be polite and make them feel welcome.