We spend most of our waking hours at work and tend to have at least something in common with our coworkers (even if, worst-case scenario, it’s only that we’re all looking for another job). So it’s natural that we might want to make friends with some of our colleagues. But should we?
The crew at Levo League says yes, as long as you’re careful, and not just because it makes your work life more pleasant: “A general sense of friendliness and openness is conducive to success within a company’s culture, and should be encouraged.” In other words, becoming friendly — if not BFF — with your coworkers can help you succeed at work, which is good for your career and for the company.
That said, there are a few pitfalls to avoid.
1. Don’t try to become best friends with the boss.
Levo League advises against discussing overly personal topics with your boss, including details about your relationships and any gossip you might have heard around the water cooler.
2. Can the drama.
Here’s a good reason to err more on the side of friendly, rather than becoming full-fledged buddies with your coworkers: friend breakups are the worst, and you won’t know how bad they can be until it’s too late to do much about it.
3. Don’t let your social life eclipse work.
Everyone has worked with that person who uses the office as social time, perhaps blowing off his work completely or perhaps doing everything at home, once everyone’s gone home (or at least, gone off IM). Don’t become this person, and don’t let him distract you from the work at hand. Your work, your life, and your work-life balance all depend on it.
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