In any office environment, people have friends with whom they feel more than just a “work relationship.” These relationships often help to facilitate work getting done by the use of informal networks, and the like. However, there are some things to watch for when dealing with work friends:
- Just like elementary school, there are workplace bullies, gossips, hangers-on, and snitches. Sadly, this behavior never changes. Be cautious about these types of people.
- If you find yourself in the “in” group, and it turns out the “in” group is keeping many others out, belittling, or unfairly criticize others, think about leaving this group – it’s nothing more than a schoolyard clique and eventually, someone will bring it down. You don’t want to be brought down with them.
- Always be friendly to everyone – even if you aren’t close. It’s surprising how many people look favorably upon someone who is always friendly, even if they don’t know them well. The old adage that “perception is reality” is in play here in a positive way. You might learn a lot about things you didn’t know by associating and being friendly with a wide group of people, and you’ll have more people to turn to for your own favors, if you need them.
- The most important advice is to really know who your office friends really are. In the ever-shifting political sands of the workplace, confiding your secrets, hopes, desires, dreams, reservations, and dislikes to someone who you think is your friend and who turns out otherwise by betraying you could spell disaster for your job, and even for your career. Tread very carefully and be sure people are your friends before you get too chummy with them.
- With all co-workers, friends or not, remember to always stay professional while at work or at any work-related function.
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