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The Case for Being Friends With Co-workers

When it comes to personal relationships in the workplace, many career experts say you should be like a contestant on a reality TV show -- in other words, not here to make friends. But although socializing with colleagues can have its downsides, there are plenty of benefits to making friends at work.

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(Photo Credit: Glen_Wright/Flickr)

For one thing, it might be pretty hard to avoid, especially if you like your job, and therefore have a lot in common with your co-workers. Even if you didn't pick your career for love, once you've been in the field a few years, you automatically have at least your job in common with the other folks in your office.

Finally, a full-time worker spends at least 40 hours a week working side by side with their colleagues. This means that many of us spend more time with people at work than we do with our family or friends. For the sake of your sanity, you're better off getting along with your co-workers.

It Will Make You a Better Worker

"Research shows that workers are happier in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers," writes Christine M. Riordan at Harvard Business Review Blog Network. "Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying. Gallup found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work."

Engaged, happy workers are productive workers.

It's Good for Your Career

Networking is, in many ways, just professional socializing, but not every connection is equal. The people who are invested in you -- your friends, in other words -- are more likely to want to help you get a new job, client, or promotion.

Looking at it from that perspective, the question isn't whether you should make friends at work -- it's whether you can afford not to.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you friends with your co-workers? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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