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A long time ago I was in the habit of writing articles about workplace politics and drama. Though I don’t intend to revisit that series of articles (nor that mindset, ugh), I do wonder if having work “friends” is a good idea career-wise. The problem is that an office often becomes something akin to a schoolyard playground, where several packs of “kids” form and segregate the general population. While it may be more polite and professional in an office, there’s no denying that the effects of being alienated from an entire group of people are just as real (and juvenile).

But, that being said, no one wants to have to exist completely on their own. Everyone enjoys having friends, and everyone likes to have people that they can talk and relate with (or just “hang out” with every now and then). So the trick here is to find some kind of universal balance. The problem is that your work environment is where you’re going to be spending nearly 35% of your conscious time for the rest of your life. It poses a real problem if you begin to develop unfavorable relationships with people, as eight hours of each working day is going to be spent in the same environment as them.

And, unfortunately, we all know what happens to people when their work lives begin to shift in a bad direction. Suddenly, their work life blends with their home life, and all of the feelings, resentments, and frustrations carry along with it, transversing the divide between work and home without a care in the world. It breaks people, destroys families, and even leads people to do crazy things. We certainly don’t want that.

Because of this I have always had friends at work, but I’ve never had close friends at work. I will talk about my day, what’s exciting in my life, or what my plans for the weekend are, but that’s where I’ve always ended it. My more personal thoughts and feelings are kept between myself, my family, and the close friends that I know I can trust and rely on.

But, that’s just me. I’ve never really experienced life-altering workplace drama, and I’d like to think that I won’t have to. I’ll keep you all posted and let you know how that one goes :)

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3 Comments »

Comment by Buck Roberts
2008-01-28 13:12:56

I think friends in the workplace is a great idea. But then I’m pretty much friends with everyone.

 
Comment by etavitom
2008-01-29 12:24:19

I think it’s a good idea! :)

 
Comment by career development
2008-02-05 17:07:24

friends in the workplace = “peers” or “network”
i definitely think you have to create positive relationships and trust with those around you at work, but keep an air of professionalism as well in order to keep it from getting uncomfortable. if you decide to hang out outside of work, just make sure you agree to keep the two separate and be adult about it.

 
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