I have had the good fortune during most of my career to either be in departments that are generally very friendly or ones where battles between the different egos were kept between said egos and were not projected onto the trainees of each lab. This has been a good thing. However, in one of my training stops I landed in a fragmented department that was odd from an outsider's perspective.
Several core groups co-existed within the department, and while there was never any open hostility between them, the different groups just didn't interact. Within groups = lots of great interaction; between groups = as if each group was their own continent when the world was believed to be flat.
I am an outgoing person who likes to get to know the people I see every day. I can't help it. A silent elevator ride with the person who works in the next lab over drives me nuts. Especially when we likely have much in common.
So what's a guy to do to break through these barriers of stupidity? Borrow shit.
That's right, start asking for stuff. Doesn't matter if you need it or not. After about 4 months of lab-to-lab silence I decided that I was going to march into the other labs and start asking for the lab equivalent of a cup of sugar. Who cares that I had a pound of sugar on my bench, no one minds giving out a bit of sugar and the real mission wasn't to get reagents anyway. No, it was ninja ice breaking with the added benefit of the return visit to replenish the sugar once ours "came in".
It's easy to put on blinders when you work a lot in a lab. Maybe you have all the friends that you need either in your group or outside the work environment, but nothing bad has ever become of a sincere effort to get to know those around you and my efforts ended up paying off when I actually did need to borrow something.
Give it a try and tell me I'm wrong.