Should You Become Friends With Your Colleagues?
When it comes to being friends with colleagues, there are those who find good friends within the company they are working for, and those who would like to keep business and private separated to such an extent, that they have extreme difficulties befriending colleagues. The motivation for befriending or not befriending colleagues vary, and both options can have their good sides as well as their disadvantages.
To whichever type of person you belong, each options impacts certain areas of your life. The main areas are things such as networking, career, and social life, but also stress due to work-related topics, or potentially rumors which might spread throughout the company.
Seeing your colleagues outside of work is a great way to network. Often, the office environment does not allow to connect in a very relaxed atmosphere, as business environments tend to be rather official. Often, people who connect with colleagues outside work, perhaps go for lunch together frequently or grab a drink after work, tend to have large networks. Besides having a very versatile social life, these people also have the potential of advancing their career faster than those who keep business and private life very strict.
However, people with very great networks cannot see everyone within the network very frequently. Often, people with huge networks either do not have true friends, with whom they have an extremely tight relationship, or these very close friends can be counted on one hand only. People with large networks and a busy social life have full agendas, and find it difficult to free up time.
Especially if you are not extremely close friends with your colleague, chances are that now and then you will be discussing work-related topics. The advantage of discussing such topics, is that it allows you to extend your office and discuss topics you were not able to discuss during working hours. However, the mind also needs to shut down once in a while. It needs a rest, and just for a second not indulge in work-related topics.
Here, people who keep business and private strictly separated have a better chance of shutting down their minds when they are not at work. Their mind and spirit comes at ease, and they have the option to see those people who they cannot see during the week.
One big disadvantage of befriending colleagues, is that if you are not that extremely close and you have vowed to keep any discussion private, rumors might be spread on the work floor. As productive networking can be to one’s career, as counterproductive can rumors be.
Rumors can exist for the most various reasons. It might be something you said, an opinion you expressed, or perhaps you had a little bit too much to drink. Because of this, it might be difficult to do the things you really might want to do. By keeping business and private strictly separated, you might have more freedom of doing the things you want to do, without the risk of rumors being spread at the work floor the next day.
The decision for befriending colleagues or not is a very personal one. In fact, it is often not a decision, but a personal view on life that people have. Befriending colleagues can be very good for building your network and therewith creating opportunities in life. But it can also be overdone. The risk is, that you might not find enough time to actually shut down emotionally from work, and that you might not be able to do the things you want to do, and as you want to do them, due to potential rumors spreading on the work floor.