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Is it Okay to be Friends with Your Co-workers?


Is it okay to be friends with your co-workers?

The short answer is “yes.” You totally can and should. After a while, you and your co-workers become somewhat of a family. You figure, if you’re going to spend more than half your waking hours with the people you work with, you might as well enjoy their company. Besides, camaraderie is totally natural and bound to happen anyway.

However, the main problem with becoming friends with co-workers is that you sometimes become too trustworthy. You might find yourself saying and doing things to a coworker that you shouldn’t say — things that could jeopardize your job. Sure, you’re friends – but no matter how you try to spin it, professional matters will trump personal ones. So, the question isn’t “should you be friends?” It’s more like “what things should you avoid doing or saying with friends at work?” Here are things to avoid:

Image courtesy of Zita952

Gossip About Other Colleagues

During the course of your career, you’re going to encounter people you absolutely love and, sadly, people you can’t stand. Like becoming friends with your co-workers, it’s only natural for you to not like certain people because of certain aggravating traits. This is completely normal. And if you’re like many people who possess grievances toward some people, you might feel inclined to talk about them behind their back or even make fun of them. Allow me to tell you that this benefits absolutely no one. You risk jeopardizing your career as well as your friends. Word gets around really quickly at companies and you might have found yourself burning a bridge between you and someone who could be your next boss. People might even feel less inclined to trust you. So, be careful what you say. If you have a grievance with someone, talk to that person in a respectful manner. Be honest. Or, you can ask for legitimate advice from a friend.

Discuss Home Issues

Everyone has personal drama in their lives. That’s a give-in. Unfortunately, not many people want to hear about it. At least, they don’t want to hear about it all the time — especially if it isn’t particularly serious or life threatening. Now, there’s always the occasional venting session… but friends who aren’t the closest, likely don’t want to hear about how your ex-husband is a dead-beat dad or that you’re in tons of debt. Even though you’re friends, you’re also colleagues — and the clients should always be #1. After all, that’s what they’re paying you guys for.

Show Favoritism

It might seem obvious, but there are a surprising number of people who don’t actually know they’re showing favoritism. When you’re good friends with a colleague, it’s only natural to want the best for them. You want them to do well because they are your friends. Unfortunately, liking someone can sometimes cloud one’s judgment. For example: you might completely dismiss the fact that a close colleague made a huge mistake. That or you might disregard it as “no big deal.” But what if it was a big deal? If you act as their advocate even after they’ve made a huge mistake, that could jeopardize both your jobs. If you’re working closely with a friend, try to look at things as objectively as possible. Don’t go in thinking “I’ll do anything for my friends,” but “I’m gonna steer them in the right direction and help them when and if they do make mistakes.” In the work environment, it helps to be more of a mentor than an advocate for their promotion.

Being friends with your colleagues isn’t a crime. In fact, having colleagues that make you look forward to coming into work is the best thing ever (at least I think so). But remember: despite sharing silly cat pictures or shooting Nerf darts at one another, your primary reason for being at work is TO work. One mustn’t forget that they’re being paid for their services, so that should always be their primary focus. Besides, when you or your team finally accomplish something big, you can all celebrate together on a job well done!

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About the Blogger: Felicia Savage is a Digital Media Marketing Associate at PERQ, a marketing technology and promotions company based in Indianapolis. When she blogging and researching content, Felicia enjoys drawing, watching cartoons and looking up stupid cat videos, Check out or follow her on Twitter (@KittyHasFleaz.) to learn more about her!


Tue, February 24 2015 » Corporate Culture

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