Many times in universities, people don't dedicate much time to build friendly relationships with colleagues. Unfortunately, this happens both in the tenured positions and in non-tenured positions, with many bad consequences (such as for examples, many researchers actually don't know what other colleagues are researching on...).
I've always been thinking that building strong friend relationships with colleagues can be very useful and powerful, for careers but most of all to create a more serene work environment.
I think that a good way to create friendly relationships with colleagues is organizing extra-work activities, such as dinners, soccer matches, etc. Last week some of my PhD student colleagues organized a pizza dinner between colleagues. All my department (~150) PhD students were invited, but in the end we were just 9! :-(
What d'you do to build strong friend relationships with colleagues? Could you tell some success stories? Could you give some good advices?
In my experience, a lot of academics tend to shy away from things like a pizza party. I would suggest thinking about things that connect common interests. For example, consider starting a book club on some relatively broad topic of interest, or a group where folks read and comment on each other's work. These kind of things can be really valuable of they ring together folks from different specalizations. It is always good to get a different perspective.
As another example, think about setting up a brown bag lecture series. These can be great ways to get folks out of their offices and talking.
Beyond this, I would generaly suggest not trying to set up events that have 150 people invited. Think smaller and more targeted.