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The right way to have friendships at work
Having work friends can definitely make you happier on the job.
Just make sure you don’t confuse work friends with IRL besties.

Elana Lyn Gross, Monster
contributor

intimate relationships requires selfdisclosure and vulnerability; on the
If you work at least 40 hours a other hand, if a work friendship
week, chances are, you spend spirals downward, the person
more time with your colleagues can use personal or sensitive
than your friends and family each information against you,” she says.
week. So it’s worth creating good There are certain things you
work relationships. In fact, a 2014 should never share with your
Globoforce survey found that work friends, according to Methot.
people with workplace friendships “Beware of disclosing information
are nearly three times more likely to that can create animosity, that is
say that they love their companies stigmatized, or that could get you
and two times less likely to be fired,” Methot warns.
poached by another company.
For example, don’t brag about
But before you start becoming getting a promotion instead of
BFFs with everyone within your friend, make assumptions
cubicle’s reach, it’s important to about political beliefs, or mention
remember that work friends come that you tried to sabotage another
with conditions—and need to be colleagues career, she says.
treated with more discretion than
Be mindful of the office
non-work friends.
“Although the boundary is easily
blurred, work friends are colleagues
first and friends second,” says
Jessica Methot, an associate
professor of Human Resource
Management at Rutgers University.
“Unlike friendships outside the
workplace,
work
friendships
uniquely occur on the backdrop of
the formal organization, and it is
key to prioritize professionalism.”
Monster spoke with career
experts to define some workplace
friendship guidelines so you won’t
end up with work frenemies instead
of friends.

Be mindful of oversharing
You have to share some personal
information to make friends, but
you should proceed with more
caution than you would for nonwork friendships. Remember to
always keep it professional and
respectful. If someone asks if you
have fun plans for the weekend,
for example, you can share some
details without resorting to a
dismissive one-word answer like
Emily Charlton from The Devil
Wears Prada.

hierarchy

Even in laid-back office settings, or
workplaces where your manager is
the same age as you, at the end of
the day, your boss is your boss and
is in charge of your reviews—and
ultimately, whether or not you have
a job. And she’s also responsible
for creating an atmosphere of
professionalism.

there’s favoritism at play no matter is screenshot-able or forward-able.
how equitable things actually are,” If you wouldn’t want your venting
she says.
or gossip about a coworker to get
out...don’t
write it down.
Be
mindful
about

“confidentiality”

Be mindful about resolving
You need to be careful about sharing disagreements

anything with work friends that
you’d like to keep secret from your
boss,” says Guerra. “Even if they
assure you they’ll maintain your
confidence, they may not be able
to keep that promise if a higher-up
asks them about whatever it is,”
she says.

Friendships aren’t always smooth
sailing
and
disagreements
happen...but don’t let a personal
disagreement mess up your
professional relationship.

“One of the biggest predictors of
quitting a job is poor relationships
with colleagues, and a negative
Let’s say you told your work BFF relationship at work can be salient,
that you made a huge mistake that distracting, and de-motivating,”
could have negative ramifications says Methot.
for the company. Even though
you told your friend not to tell So if a work friendship is on the
anyone, there is a chance that they rocks, handle it as calmly and
may feel compelled to disclose professionally as possible, so you
the information if a manager asks can either salvage the friendship,
about it or if there is something that or move on calmly, so it doesn’t
impact your 9-to-5.
can be done to fix the mistake.

“While collegiality can be an
effective motivator, the fact remains
that work needs to get done,” says
Courtney C.W. Guerra, author of Is
This Working? “Good managers
will enforce that by periodically
shushing
side
conversations,
enforcing performance standards,
and generally keeping the staff
focused on the organization’s Before sharing something with
goals.”
a coworker, Lynda McKay,
You can be friendly with your founder of the Phoenix-based
manager or someone who you HR consultancy, HR Extension,
manage but be careful about says to ask yourself, “How much
how your friendship affects your of what you shared do you want
professional relationship and how your supervisor to know? Always
it may be perceived by coworkers. remember that is where this
“If you’re regularly getting together information can go,” says McKay.
outside work or sharing inside Oh and remember that anything
jokes, coworkers will worry that you say over email, Slack, or text

“Identify the source of the conflict
and resolve it professionally. Do
not spread gossip or rumors, do not
try to get coworkers on your side,
or cast your friend in a negative
light with a supervisor,” Methot
says.
Of course, most work friendships
can stay fun, light, and the bright
spot of your work day—if you stick
to these work-friend guidelines.

“Developing work friends can be a Copyright 2016 - Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article
mixed blessing,” says Methot. “On without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on Monster, the leading online
the one hand, forging deeper, more global network for careers. To see other career-related articles, visit:http://career-advice.monster.com

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