Whether or not coworkers should become friends is a question many have debated over the years. When you become friends with one or more coworkers, the job becomes more pleasant as it is not only about the responsibilities anymore but about companionship and team work. A friendly work environment promotes creativity and helps employees reach higher goals together. However, while becoming friends with your coworker presents advantages, there are also some cons that could create an obstacle to your personal and professional development.
You should not mix your personal and professional life
Mixing these two can be tricky. You might not want your colleagues to know everything happening in your personal life and this is totally normal. It is important to build your boundaries form day one and becoming friends with your colleagues can make this a little more difficult. You do not want to have to explained why “you never accepted that friend request”. While it is pleasant to be friends with people in your workplace, the con is that it will become more difficult to keep your private life private.
Beware of the spirit of competition
Remember that, we are first human. When evolving and growing in a certain work environment, it becomes common for colleagues to aspire to certain positions. When two colleagues-friends target the same objective, the situation can quickly become awkward. You will start becoming shady, which can build tension in the workplace– Do not let the awkwardness build. Be open about what you both want and be transparent. Also avoid keeping important information to yourself. For example, if your boss lets you know that the deadline for the position has been changed, do not pretend that you did not know in order to avoid telling your coworker. However, being as diplomatic will be more difficult if there are emotions involved.
You may become unprofessional
Many recruiters avoid hiring two people from the same circle because being around someone you get along “too well” in the workplace can quickly become a source of distraction. Regular chit chats, stopping by your coworker’s desk a little too often or simple gossips between you, can quickly become an issue. It is nice to have someone you can talk to, laugh with and vent to, but it is important to remember that works comes first. Do not let your personal relations with your colleagues cause you to lose your professionalism. Avoid spending too much time on things that are not related to your job and that can make you miss your deadlines!
There is no black and white answer when it comes to whether or not you should become friends with a coworker. It is up to you to take the time analyze the situation and see if it will benefit you or simply cause trouble. In the workplace, work comes first so make sure that no relationship hinders your ability to live this statement.
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Ann-Sophie Ovile, Writer, Short Stints