It’s common that people are working longer hours today so becoming friends with your co-workers make sense, but the difference between your work friends and your real friends is that people you work with have the potential to directly influence or affect your career in a big way.
And it can be a good or bad thing.
Peter Bregman from HBR reports that having friends is the most common way to find new job referrals:
Once you’re on the job, having a best friend at work is a strong predictor of success. People might define “best” loosely, but according to a Gallup organisation study of more than 5 million workers over 35, 56 per cent of the people who say they have a best friend at work are engaged, productive, and successful while only 8 per cent of the ones who don’t are.
But being really close to someone at work can also have a negative effect, especially if the relationship falls apart. For this sake, it might be best to keep some professional distance with your professional friends.
Set Boundaries. Although image does somewhat matter with your real friends, it matters a lot more with work friends. Keep this in mind the next time you’re at happy hour with colleagues, especially if they’re in a supervisory role at the office.
Work out problems immediately. Unlike non-work friends, you see your work friends all the time, for the majority of the day so it’s best to work out any problems immediately, or things can get complicated.
Don’t take things personally. It might be hard sometimes, but remember that business is business.
Be professional. Your employer is paying you to work, so it’s best to keep work and play separate. Yes, a chat here and there is OK with your work friends, but designate your time to socialize.
Don’t discuss other people at work. It’s probably not a good idea to say negative things about other people at work with your work friends, especially if the other person is your boss.
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