We spend most of our time at work, so it stands to reason that some of our friends will be co-workers. Although you should be friendly with everyone you work with, there will be a few people that you have more in common with. When that happens, it can be difficult to keep work and friendship separate. Instead of hanging out together and relaxing after work, you end up just talking about work even more. Another risk of office friendships is that a workplace dispute could cause a loss of a friend.
There are ways to protect yourself and your friendship. Here are 5 tips for keeping your office friends:
Keep things separate - Don't spend a lot of time at work talking about the things you did outside of work. Your other co-workers might feel excluded and think that you are being too chummy with one person. Also, your focus on the friendship might limit your professional growth because you don't network and collaborate with others in the office.
Take it slow - Just because one of your co-workers invited you out for drinks doesn't mean that it's time to share personal or sensitive information. One night out doesn't make a new best friend. Instead, take the new friendship slow and avoid letting your professional guard down entirely. Otherwise, you might find your professional reputation in shreds when they share the juicy gossip with your other co-workers.
Don't complain about your boss - If you are stressed about work or your boss, don't share that with your friend. It's a natural thing to do, but it can cause tension in your friendship as well as drag your friend into the conflict. Instead, vent about your job to your other friends.
Don't exclude your teammates - Having a friend in the office makes it tempting to always chose them to collaborate with. Pretty soon, it becomes a tight circle and can feel like picking teams in middle school. This creates bad feelings among your co-workers and will also limit your professional growth.
Handle friend breakups professionally - It happens. Sometimes you have a good friend and for whatever reason, you decide to end the friendship. This is always difficult, but even more so when you work with that person every day. If you break up with your friend, keep it professional and avoid name calling. Also, don't bring the drama into the workplace. If you are angry with the person, try to not let it effect your work.
Building friendships with co-workers is rewarding and natural. With a little bit of forethought, it can be a great way to stay motivated and inspired at work as friends can challenge us to do better than we thought we could.
"Image from dreamstime.com"