Mixing business and pleasure: Friendships at the office

Published March 31st, 2016 - 10:07 GMT
It is easy to form a bond with colleagues over the ruthless world of work. (Shutterstock)
It is easy to form a bond with colleagues over the ruthless world of work. (Shutterstock)

According to research, 20% of our friends come from our workplace, making it the second most likely source of friendship! I have met 2 of my best friends and my life partner at work. Still not convinced?

Here are some good reasons to make friends at work:

1. On average we spend 220 days per year at work, we see more of our colleagues than of our partners, children and loved ones.

2. Our colleagues often have many things in common with us: same age range, education, priorities (looking after the children, balancing work and family, pursuing a post-graduate degree…etc) and also different experiences (interests) so working friendships can be enriching.

3. The world of work can be ruthless sometimes. Public reprimands, rejected pay raise and a bad atmosphere can make you glad you have a friend in the office, a shoulder to cry on on those bad days.

4. As time goes by, the fact is our circle of friends tends not to widen as much as in student days because we don't have the time and we settle down in friendships and relationships. Work is a great place to forge links with new people easily.

Maintaining friendships at work on the other hand, might not be so easy. Pay attention to the following:

1.   Be vigilant. Especially at the beginning of a relationship, avoid telling your colleague your whole life history and all your secrets until you trust the person completely. This measure will stop you from being betrayed or from getting in too deep in case you don't want to stay friends.

2.  Think about establishing a few boundaries to protect your bubble. Introduce colleagues to your close friends and family gradually, and don’t always mix your work friends with your other friends. Each of you must respect the other's territory.

3.  Friendship reacts badly to ambition. The relationship can be put under strain if you're both competing for a promotion, or if one of you becomes the other's superior. It’s not easy asking for the accounts or having to report back to a friend who becomes your boss.

4.  Having one best buddy at the office can mean you become isolated from others. You might not even notice other colleagues who don't want to infringe on your friendship. Plus your long-standing friends may feel excluded when you start talking about the new friend.

5.  What brought you together can also drive you apart. It can sometimes happen that a close friendship falls apart after one leaves the company and you're disappointed when you realise you had very little in common outside work.

By Shaden Abdulraman 

Copyright: Arab News © 2019 All rights reserved.

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