Mistake #2: Connecting by Complaining
Sharing gripes is an easy way to bond—after all, everyone has so many—but what starts as an ice-breaker can quickly launch a snark spiral. You have the right idea, which is to find common ground. Say a co-worker at your new job mentions the way your boss only invites a few favored employees to eat lunch with her every day—a habit you've noticed, as well. Instead of saying, "And another annoying thing she does is..." try something like, "I've never been a big fan of the middle-school cafeteria, either. Actually, I was thinking of going out to eat, but I can't decide where to go—do you know of a good place around here?" Something that acknowledges the complaints you share but redirects them in a more productive—or at least more neutral—way.