By Lauren Saxe
Making pals and setting a positive tone among your colleagues can boost your experience from day one. Even opposites Andy and Emily in The Devil Wears Prada end up being unlikely friends, so why not cut to the chase? Years later, and I still go out with my former intern besties on a regular basis. Here are some tips and tricks that have kept us friends ever since.
Introduce yourself when a newbie arrives. Offer a helping hand and exchange numbers. You never know when you might need to lean on each other! “Interns are all at the same level, and if they’re hired by the same place, they probably have similar goals,” says Molly Longman, a reporting fellow at the Phoenix New Times. It can be tempting to get competitive, but in the long run, working together and helping each other out just makes everyone better at their jobs. “Working together and sharing successes will help prepare you for an industry where collaboration is key,” says Lauren Tom, an editorial producer at Vogue.
Take time to read your peers’ work. There are tons of talented whippersnappers out there who you could learn from, so if you are moved by or impressed with one of their stories, let them know. “Ask them if they saw a crazy story online or if they read a cool thing you may have seen in XYZ magazine,” recommends Emma Baty, an editorial fellow at Redbookmag.com. “Find common ground with current events or something you both mutually enjoy. It’s a good ice breaker.” Reach out with simple favors or help with a project. “Hey, I’m going to Starbucks. Need anything?’ will make you more friends than you’d think.
Plan an intern get-together like brunch or drinks. Because who doesn’t love mimosas? This will give you an opportunity to spend some time together outside of the office, away from the everyday stresses of work. You’ll get to know each other on a more personal level which is how all lasting friendships form.
Add each other on social media. This isn’t weird, we swear. You’ll get a glimpse into things they like to do outside the office, their personality and maybe even some of their previous work (see tip #2). We all do it, so give them a follow and some likes and odds are, they’ll follow you back.
Keep in touch after the internship ends. It’s easy to text in the group chat during the first few months that follow, but be sure to check in with each other even a year or two after. It’ll be nice to catch up on your new positions and life in general, and more often than not, you’ll pick up right where you left off. Rachel Trujillo, an editorial assistant at Food Network, made a ton of friends at an internship in Denver and they still make an effort to stay connected. “While interning, we all decided to go out to dinner then head over to one intern’s house. The five of us sat around her kitchen table, drank wine and talked for hours. We all still keep in touch now, and I am extremely grateful for that group!” she says.