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- 6 Tips To Good Friends With Your Co-Worker And Keep Professional Boundaries Maintained
6 Tips To Good Friends With Your Co-Worker And Keep Professional Boundaries Maintained
By: Kratika Wed, 21 July 2021 2:27 PM
No matter if you work in a corporate office, a retail outlet or at some completely different place, it is always good to have friends at your workplace as you need to spend the majority of your time there. But before you start exchanging friendship bracelets with your co-workers, or naming them as the godparents of your future children, you’ve got to realize one thing – sometimes, work friendships can be taken too far, with disastrous consequences.
If you’re not completely clear as to what that means, these tips should give you a good idea of when to take a few steps backward. Even if you’ve already crossed the line into the danger zone, don’t worry – that line can always be redrawn.
# What’s yours shouldn’t always be theirs
With your friends outside of work, perhaps you share everything – clothes, food, liquor, Blu-rays, maybe even vehicles. However, when it comes to your work friends, there are a couple of things you need to, for the most part, keep to yourself: your ideas, and your time.
If you’re involved in a brainstorming session, sharing ideas is acceptable, but if you have an idea for an individual project that could dramatically change your career for the better, don’t share it until it’s already in the works.
If you spill the details prematurely, and a friend tries to pass it off as their own, you certainly won’t be thrilled. Likewise, you can offer a friend five or ten minutes of your time in order to help them with a task, but don’t offer up so much time that you fall behind on your own duties and hurt your chances of success.
# Chit-chat is a waste of time
If you and a friend work beside each other, talking all day long might seem like fun, but if you do this too often, you’ll no longer get anything done. Plus, other co-workers working nearby, not to mention your boss, may get tired of hearing your voices.
It’s great to catch up with work buddies during lunch or break times, or be a part of the occasional gab session at the water cooler, but make sure you give the chatting a rest at some point.
Don’t have too many casual conversations with your work friends over email, either. This is one of the worst habits to get into, as it feels like you’re working, but it reality you’re accomplishing nothing of importance at all.
# Bailing out your friends is bad
You may be tempted to bail out your friends if they get in trouble with your boss, but you’ve got to avoid doing this if you want to remain on the boss’s good side yourself. If you bail out a friend, and your boss finds out that you did so, they won’t be pleased with either of you.
If you really don’t want to confirm that your crony was late for the fifth time in a row, the best thing to do is feign ignorance – after all, you may have been so busy with your own work, you didn’t even see them stroll in at half past nine.
# Loose lips sink ships
Whatever you do, don’t spill a bunch of personal secrets to any of your co-workers unless you’ve been close to them for years. You may think that a certain person is in your corner, but when the push comes to shove, and you’re competing with them for a higher role or a prestigious new responsibility, your co-worker may in fact, out of desperation, use personal information against you.
The same goes for personal things you know about other employees – keep your lips zipped. Word travels fast, and you don’t want a two-faced cohort to use your gossip to ruin another co-worker’s career.
# Go easy on the booze
Stopping yourself from spreading secrets when sober likely won’t be too difficult, but for many people, alcohol can act as a sort of truth stimulus. Therefore, when spending time with co-workers, you must avoid getting to the level of drunkenness at which you no longer have a filter, and are just blurting out anything that comes to mind.
You’ll actually avoid a lot of potential embarrassment by staying semi-sober, as you surely don’t want to be known as the person who had a little too much wine and stripped down to their underwear at the boss’s birthday soiree.
# Competition isn’t always healthy
Between co-workers, a little bit of competition is bound to occur naturally. You and a pal may, unavoidably, both be in consideration for raises or promotions at the same time, or if you’re in a line of work in which everyone’s performance is constantly measured against that of others, comparisons between the two of you may be inevitable.
While you should never put your career on hold for the sake of a friend’s, you’ve got to resist the temptation to make every workday an exercise in one-upmanship. You’ll likely achieve your best results if you remain focused on your own performance, so if a friend gets some sort of special recognition, just congratulate them briefly and move on with your day.