The Easiest Way to Make New Friends at Work

This article was created in partnership with Peerfit.

No matter how cultivated your social skills are, starting a new job always feels like the first day of school. You agonize over an outfit the night before, wonder who you’ll sit with at lunch, and have nightmares of getting stuck in the elevator with your new boss (just us?).

Work friendships can be complex, but there’s no denying it’s nice to have a buddy in the office. So what’s the best way to find your BFF when you’re brand spankin’ new? We teamed up with our friends at Peerfit to find out. Peerfit makes it easy to book workout classes and invite folks to join you, which is convenient because one of the quickest ways to meet people at work is surprisingly simple: sweat together.

No, not the nervous kind of sweat that makes your shirt feel uncomfortably damp—we mean exercise-induced sweat. We work out to relieve stress and better our overall mental and physical health, right? Exercising with a colleague means you get to share all those stress-busting, endorphin-pumping good vibes. Plus…

1. Working out together forces you to open up.

We’re our most real selves while exercising (it’s hard to fake a state of calm when you’re gasping for breath in Spin class or slamming away at a punching bag). While you might feel self-conscious at first, by the end of class you’re both likely to have let your guard down. After all, nobody looks like they have their life together after a round of burpees.

2. Group workouts inspire camaraderie (and even a little friendly competition).

Misery loves company! Pick a workout where you have to partner up or work next to each other. Peerfit, a platform that lets you sign up for workouts at thousands of different gyms and studios across 48 states, is an easy way to organize an out-of-office hangout. With a few clicks, you can book bags for boxing, bikes for cycling, or mats for om-ing, so you can commiserate, high-five, or compete to see who can hold a plank the longest.

And the best part? Peerfit works with employers and insurance carriers to pay for the classes. If it’s not part of your new gig’s benefits (you can check here), sign up for a personal subscription—for just $8.95 per month, you’ll get the same access. Just pay per class at a discounted member rate, and you’re good to go.

3. It’s healthier than happy hour.

It’s not breaking news that working out is better for your overall health than boozing it up. A lot of the reasons people drink together (to socialize, gripe, relieve stress) are also good reasons to work out together, so why not schedule fitness classes like they’re social events? It’ll also hold you accountable. And, hey, maybe you grab drinks after the workout—we’re not saying you can’t have it all. Just make sure you eat and hydrate first.

Connecting with a colleague in a stress-relieving environment has been shown to seriously improve overall health and even support personal weight-loss goals. And don’t forget: One in five people meet their significant other at work (!!), so who knows where one sweat date could lead? Just keep your chin up, newbie. Leave that gym bag where your coworkers can see it, and you’ll have a few new friends in no time.

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