Staying in touch with former coworkers has some pros and cons but are they your friends or just coworkers even if you don’t work there anymore?
This is what we will try to discuss in this article, and also, I will try to give you a few tips on how to stay in touch with former coworkers without being pushy or awkward.
Should you stay in touch with former coworkers?
It’s easy to think that you should stay in touch with your former coworkers. After all, you spent a lot of time with them and talked about a lot of things during coffee breaks and not only. Maybe you had some teambuilding where you got to know each other, and you really enjoyed the time you spent with them, so it’s obvious that you are friends, isn’t it?
Well, keeping in touch with former coworkers for most people is not as easy as it might look.
Before going further, the most important thing you can do to clarify if you should keep in touch with them is to ask yourself what you talked about at work. If the answer is work-related stuff, gossiping about other coworkers, surface-level discussions like weather or sport, surface-level discussions, and that’s all, then that is not a real friendship but rather a circumstantial friendship.
This is the main reason why remaining friends with coworkers is difficult. When you change your job, you will slowly lose interest in talking about the old job challenges and your former coworkers’ life, so there is nothing to keep you interested in staying in touch with your former coworkers.
Don’t feel guilty because you are not staying in touch with your former coworkers. Sometimes, this is the best you can do, and you should move on in your life. However, there are situations when you make real friends at work, and you should keep in touch with them, let’s see how to do it.
How to keep in touch with former coworkers?
I will list here 6 tips to help you create a real friendship with your former coworkers and keep in touch with them.
1. Try to be personal with them
There is no chance to stay in touch with former coworkers if all you discussed were work-related stuff and the weather. So, being personal, talking about your life, and listening to them when they talk about their life is the first step to a real friendship rather than just coworkers.
Of course, you should not go with your life story to a coworker you barely know, you should take things slowly and see if they reciprocate. Talking personal doesn’t necessarily mean a deeply personal story that you are so attached to, it can simply be the things you like, hobbies, your plans, and so on, but try to be honest, even if they don’t see the world exactly how you see it.
Here is a trap that I noticed many people fall into when creating real friendships with new people. With older friends, we have no problem letting them know that we see some topics drastically different, but with newer people, it’s much harder and most of the time, we pretend that we agree with them on everything, and they do the same.
Letting them know exactly how you are and what you think is the first step into creating a real friendship, you don’t have to do it in your first conversation, but you should slowly but surely be more honest and personal with them.
2. Go out with them
If you really believe someone is your friend you should be able to go out with them, to dinner, at a bar, at a theatre and so on. If the workplace is the only place you spend time with them, you should think twice if you really want to keep in touch with them.
3. Be the one to contact first
This is a rule when it comes to friends in general. Even if it doesn’t sound fair, you should be the first to contact them most of the time.
You don’t know how much they think of you or if they want to keep in touch with you, so you contacting them first at least clarifies those things for you and them.
My wife and I often talk about how we usually are the ones that call people first, and sometimes it is discouraging to see that they didn’t call you. However, we end up realizing that most of the time is not that they wouldn’t like to spend time with us but rather that adults after college are doing a poor job of prioritizing friendship and social life.
There is more like family in the first place, work in the second(or vice versa for some), relaxing in the third place, a few empty spots, and then friends.
Taking those things personally is the first instinct we have,”they didn’t call, that means they don’t care, why should I call?” but this is not true most of the time. It’s sad to realize that people don’t prioritize friends anymore, but at least you know, and you can call them without being too attached to the fact that they didn’t call you first.
4. Don’t wait too long to contact them
Now that you know that you should not wait for them to call you, the next step is to call them without waiting too much.
Imagine a former coworker calling you after six months of not talking to you. My first thought will be, “what does he/she want?” This could be their first thought even if you call them in a week if there was no real friendship and personal level discussions between you.
So before calling them, make sure you should do it by checking the things we talked about above.
If you believe you have a reason to stay in touch with your former coworkers, you should call them as soon as you feel the need to hang out with them.
5. Remember the important moments and life events for them.
Knowing what is important to them and remembering their life events means that you paid attention to them, and they were open enough to tell you those things.
Having those things in mind, calling them when it is important to them is a nice way to keep in touch with your former coworkers.
For example, if you know they have a kid(school age), you can get in touch with them to see how the first day of school was for their kid.
Or, just as basic as calling them on their birthdays might be a good way to keep in touch with former coworkers.
6. Get their social media profiles
A like and comment here and there might help you keep in touch with them. Also, having an easy way to contact them when you need it’s also a plus.
Social media is increasingly important in our life, and you can understand many things about a person by following them on social media, if they are active there.
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Keeping in touch with former coworkers without being friends
You can do the things from above without being a close friend with your former coworkers, you can keep the relationship at a casual friendship level. This might be enough for them to help you with some job recommendations and other stuff like this when you need it, but not more.
However, I noticed that most people lose contact with their former coworkers when they get attached to new coworkers, so keeping a casual friendship with former coworkers might not work for a long time.
Read Also: How Many Friends Should I Have At 30?
If you decide that you want to keep in touch with your former coworkers having those tips in mind might help you in doing it the proper way.
You should always have in mind that you are not coworkers anymore, and you need to start talking about different things with them, which might be challenging, but it is possible.