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Should You Make Friends At Work?

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Do you have a friend at work? If you have one, you know what a humongous difference it makes in your workplace.

Workplace friendship has a significant effect on your work satisfaction. One can seamlessly manage the usual office politics, struggles, and day to day ups and downs. In short, they improve the good days and make the poor ones bearable.

Frankly, while spending maximum hours at my workplace, I can't imagine going through any of the things I've been through without my coworkers' help. And I can't imagine my work life without them who have become my friends.

Is It Okay To Look For Friends At Work?


Credits: Giphy

It's very natural to look for friends at work, and it's necessary for professional success. As I already mentioned, we spend most of our time at work, and if we don't like the people we work with, getting through the day becomes even more difficult. We'll have a lot more happy (and productive) days if you enjoy each other's company.

People we get friendly with at work are often referred to as "friends," but there is a distinction. While being social at work will help raise morale and satisfaction, you must also set limits with your 'friendly' colleagues.

Facts and Figures That Proves Why Friends At Work Are The Best?

Gallup's workplace analysis is one of our favorites. Let's see what Gallup has to say about workplace friendship and its benefits.

According to Gallup, getting a job BFF is one of the most significant factors in employee engagement and satisfaction.

Our research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work, and the amount of effort employees expend in their job.

Those who [have a best friend at work] are seven times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce higher quality work, have higher well-being, and are less likely to get injured on the job.

Women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%).

Read our blog on: The Challenges Faced By Women in The Workplace

Gallup also discovered that women who firmly believe they have a best friend at work have the following feelings:

  • Less likely to be actively searching for or monitoring job openings.
  • More associated with their colleagues, respecting what is expected of them, and trusting their honesty and ethics.
  • Less likely to record a negative daytime experience, such as workplace stress or feeling tired.

If these aren't enough, here are some LinkedIn findings which are similar to GallupGallup:

Linkedin found many exciting data about having friends at work:

  • It boosts employee satisfaction, employee motivation, and productivity, particularly among your younger employees (ages 18-24)
  • Socializing and friendships are critical for moving up the career ladder, according to 1/3 of Millennials.
  • Fifty-one percent of staff maintain contact with former coworkers, resulting in boomerang employees or increased turnover in poor environments.

Read our blog on: High Employee Turnover: 6 Major Reasons (+How To Solve Them)

If we look otherwise, there are hardly four arguments against having close friends at work:

  1. It invites unhealthy competitiveness and rivalry, causing tension and stress.
  2. It might disturb corporate hierarchy.
  3. Being considered too close with a coworker who isn't viewed in high regard might negatively reflect you.
  4. You might get stuck in negativity as a result of co-rumination.

Having said the above, having friends at work can be the bright spot of your workday—as long as you take the proper precautions.

What Does Workplace Friendship Need?

In his book "The Best Place To Work," psychologist and author Ron Friedman states that friendship requires three ingredients: physical proximity, familiarity, and similarity, all of which can be found in the workplace.

But there's one thing that's a little more difficult to come by at work that can make friendship a reality: sharing secrets or emotional information.

Is it, however, really prudent to share emotionally sensitive details with colleagues in a competitive workplace? The answer differs from person to person.

So, how do we make friendships—or establish deeper relationships in the workplace?

It isn't as easy as it seems. It's vital to maintain a professional demeanor and respect individual boundaries, and you must remain true to yourself. Here are some ideas/rules of making friends at work that we must consider.

7 Simple Rules of Making Friends at Work


Credits- Giphy

1. Focus on building rapport

To link with, look for someone who shares your interests and is in a similar stage of their career.

2. Make the most of simple social situations

Work happy hours, inviting someone for lunch, community service activities, and so on are all great ways to develop a friendship.

3. Don't overdo the boss/employee relationship/friendship

Honestly, regardless of what you and your manager share and how much fun you have together, they are still your boss. It isn't to say you can't talk about anything other than work or spend time together outside of the office; it just means you have to be a little more selective about what you communicate.

Read our blog on: Importance Of Employer Employee Relationship In Companies

4. Don't judge

Friendship knows no bounds, but how you and your colleague want to spend time does. If a coworker can't join the rest of the team for a happy hour because they have to pick up their kids, be open to suggesting ideas during the workday. Maybe you could replace happy hour with lunch at your favorite restaurant. Alternatively, if you know they don't drink, expect to get coffee instead of drinks.

Recognize that while everybody wants to hang out, they all come from different places, have different interests, and come from diverse backgrounds. So, instead of excluding others because they don't want to do precisely what you want, be adaptable. That way, you'll make a lot of valuable connections.

5. Recognize their efforts

Kelly Quinn, HR manager at Nurse Next Door, explains it pretty clearly, "As you would in a friendship outside of work, recognize your coworkers who have gone above and beyond for you or the company. We're all hardwired to appreciate praise and reciprocate it. Additionally, as you develop a reputation for recognizing the work of others, more people will want to work with you, giving you more opportunities to foster those budding friendships."

Let your coworkers know how much you appreciate their hard work by being creative in your approach. Make the recognition process more enjoyable with a thoughtful valentine’s day gift, an appreciation email or an off-the-wall compliment.

Read our blog on: 70 Best Compliments For Coworkers

6. Keep your circle wide.

You're isolating your other coworkers by just hanging out with a few people and not making an effort to get to know them—and, frankly, making your job more complicated in the process. So, break the habit of just spending time with your friends and get to know the rest of your squad.

7. Don't rush.

Workplace friendships, like any other kind of relationship, take time to develop. Have a good time and use it as an opportunity to get to know your colleagues, even though they aren't your best friends.

Generally, it's challenging to admit oneself to another person. But that is precisely the argument. No one is flawless, and trying to be so will irritate others. Our shortcomings and insecurities are what distinguishes us as human beings, and when we reveal them, two things happen:

  • People love it when you put their faith in them (especially when you share your imperfections). They feel better about themselves as a result of it. ("I'm the girl who others can trust on!")

  • They get a direct link to you.

Friendship… is born at the moment when one man says to another, 'What! You too? - C.S. Lewis

My approach of initiating friendship at the workplace is to open up gradually. I give some details and wait to see how the other person responds. When the person responds positively, you know you've opened up just the right amount, but don't go overboard if they're not interested.

So, what if you've done everything above and still cannot connect to your coworker?

Relax. That's fine. It's not always possible to make friends at work, despite your best efforts. It may take time, or your coworkers may be too skeptical, socially awkward, or just too busy to put forth the effort to form friendships.

Remember, what matters most is that you pay your bills and advance your career. Spend your spare time doing other things you like or catching up with all of your other fabulous friends after you finish your job. Use your lunch break to get some exercise, run errands, or have a solo picnic in the park.

Above all, maintain a positive attitude and never give up hope—you never know when something will ignite a shared interest or a new friendship.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a podcast host and content creator at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest in research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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