If you work an eight hour day, you spend 1/3 of your day with your co-workers. Even with social distancing, you are on the phone, in zoom meetings or on company instant messenger with co-workers throughout the day.
Sometimes co-workers become your work friends. They may be who you have lunch with every day or who you are interacting with throughout the day. Work friendships can help with adapting to the work culture and enjoying the work itself. ⠀
However, just as boundaries are important with friends and family, they are important to have with work friends. ⠀
You may start out as peers/teammates but the work dynamic can change as time goes on. Your friend may become your boss or you may become their boss. You may become privileged to information that you can’t share with them, and vice versa. You may work on conflicting project or teams and performance becomes an issue. ⠀
If you decide to become friends with co-workers, make sure you have boundaries that you are clear on. ⠀
- Do you discuss work or keep it social?⠀
- Do you talk about co-workers, managers, peers? ⠀
- Do you share personal things – health? Family? Romantic interests?⠀
- Do you socialize outside of work and happy hour? What about weekends? Night life? Vacations together?⠀
When you have clear boundaries with co-workers who are friends, if roles change at work, it doesn’t have to effect the friendship. If you have not already established clear boundaries for co-worker friends, spend some time creating some. Remember, a good boundary defines what you will do when something occurs, and not what someone else should do.
More information on navigating friendships can be found on cathycouncil.com. Cathy Council coaches women to create and maintain friendships, without changing who they are to fit in.