We may all need a work wife, but becoming friends with your coworkers can be a tricky thing. On one hand, having a friend at work can help you feel as if someone is in your corner and can give you the confidence to do your best. They're also a safe place to land when things get rocky. On the other hand, if you choose a toxic friend, your work life will be that much more complicated.
Overall, developing friendships in the office is a healthy thing that can benefit both you and your employer. Office friendships have positive and negative points and should be developed slowly and naturally.
Considerations When Friending a Coworker
Even when you're friends with a coworker, you should hold back on divulging too much information. A toxic friend may just gossip about you more at work and cause big problems that aren't easily fixed.
Be sure to keep anything related to money, including salary and financial history, to yourself. The same goes for your sexual history or general health concerns. Things that are too personal should be kept out of work relationships.
Be careful to spare your work friend the details of your job performance reports or reviews and limit sharing about personal issues that might cause problems for you at work.
Reasons to Friend a Coworker
Work becomes a more enjoyable place to go when you friend a coworker because you feel appreciated and cared about. Coworkers have your back more than usual when they know you on a personal level; there is less of a chance for misunderstandings because the people you work with get where you are coming from.
A friendlier work environment also promotes more creativity. You feel more comfortable being yourself, and this allows you to think outside the box. Having a friend at work gives you a safe way to vent your frustrations, so you can rebound more quickly when setbacks at work occur.
Reasons to Keep Your Distance
Work can become an unprofessional environment when you friend a coworker—too much chit chat and not enough focus on the job can get you and your friend in trouble. Ironically, having a friend in the office stand up for you can also garner resentment from others. Coworkers may feel you are getting preferential treatment you don't deserve.
Getting too close to someone at work can also mean they know just a little bit too much about you. Do you really want your coworkers to know your demons or struggles? If you think someone is your friend and it turns out not to be true, you could then become the victim of sabotage or a backstabbing from someone you trusted.
Always Keep Things Professional
If you become friends with someone at work, remember to keep things professional at all times. Work comes first. It's nice to have a support system with your friend, but avoid playing favorites or spending too much time doing things unrelated to your job. If you keep these points in mind, you'll be able to search out people who can be good friends.