It is the eternal question, one that many ask themselves and are always surprised to find out the answer: Is there such a thing as friends at work? To answer this question with justification, it is important to remember that your colleagues are people you spend 8-9 hours of your day with - amounting up to 180 hours a month, so is it worth befriending them to make your life easier?
BFFs at Work?
Personally, I think it is better to be social at work and be friendly with your colleagues, rather than be sullen and unapproachable. This makes your workplace more fun and informal, rather than sitting at your desk 9 hours a day without eye contact with anyone.
However, there is a fine line between work friends and actual friends - you have to remember that you are at work! Some people often tend to forget this fact, treating the office as their social playground where they come to hangout with their colleagues, and if they have spare time, they get some work done.
The Golden Rules
Here are 3 rules to keep in mind to keep your work and friendships going:
#1 Steer Clear of Red Flag Topics
While it may be tempting to discuss salaries, raises and company issues, it is important - no crucial - that you do not discuss these topics with your work friends. At the end of the day, these “friends” are just colleagues, and you don’t know them well enough to know when they can turn around and use your words against you. Other topics to avoid are: boss, manager and management.
#2 Be Friends - Not Gossips
“I want to tell you something, but you didn’t hear it from me.” Sound familiar? Well this is the classic gossip starter. If this is how most of your conversations with your “friends” at work start, then it is time to cut the cord and distance yourself from them. Gossips are at the lowest paradigm in the work hierarchy, and if you associate yourself with them, then you are considered to be one of them.
#3 Don’t be Unprofessional
It is tempting to sit there and talk with your colleagues all day long, but you should take this advice to heart: Do not let your work friendship interfere with your work. This is probably the best advice for anyone who wants to succeed at work. Don’t delay answering the phone because you are busy retelling a story about your dog, or take long lunches with your friends because you have “so much to catch up on!”- It is simply unprofessional! You are at work for a reason - make sure you remember it or you won’t last very long.