When it comes to the workplace, seeing the difference between friends and coworkers can be confusing. But through different bonding experiences, we can create real friendships, eight hours at a time.
If you’re working closely with someone during your shift, it’s important to create a dialogue that goes further than the usual “How are you?” or “Do you need anything?” You can compliment them on their outfit, or work ethic, which we find to be a much more surprising and appreciated affirmation.
You may also find it fun to ask questions you wouldn’t normally get in a workplace setting. Not inappropriate of course, just things people might not expect. Lately we’ve been asking people if any vivid memories have come back to them recently. It’s a nice way to earn their trust and start to bond.
Some topics you might want to tread lightly on are those related to coworkers and the business itself. Some people will be very open about their feelings on these things, but others might keep quiet in order to keep the peace. Either way, you can’t be sure who is friends with who in the workplace, and you don’t want to land yourself in boiling water.
When it comes to bosses, be kind, and inclusive, but it’s a good idea to keep different boundaries with those in power. Nobody wants to seem like a bootlicker (at least, we think no one does…), but of course you don’t want to make things any worse for yourself when it comes to moving up at work by putting off those in charge. And when it comes to accepting friend requests from your boss, make sure that you’re okay with possibly censoring yourself in the future. In most cases at least, you don’t want social media following you to work.
When it comes to office jobs, here’s some interesting advice from The Balance Careers’ article on “5 Ground Rules for Positive Workplace Friendships.” They mention the security in knowing people that can help with different issues that might arise at work, which is helpful in any industry.
Overall, workplace friendships can be difficult to navigate, especially in settings with office politics and rigid hierarchies. But being kind and open with your coworkers can lead to better work days and closer relationships.