It can be tempting to want to make friends at work in order to make your on-the-job experience more pleasant. But as fun as it may seem to hang out with the same people you spend your whole workday with, there are several significant drawbacks to developing deeper relationships with these people.
Here are a few reasons why befriending coworkers might not be the best move for you.
Cracking a joke or two during work hours can definitely help lighten the mood and boost morale. But when lightheartedness borders on unproductiveness, things can take a turn. You don’t want a day at the office to look like a Saturday afternoon hangout. If your boss takes notice of how much you slack off with coworkers, that can do a lot of harm to your career.
Conflict is natural in any relationship. If you become close friends with coworkers, you’re bound to go through these same waves of conflict. But when you have to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the same people that you share life’s highs and lows with, things are bound to get a little messy. Depending on the intensity of the conflict, it can have a huge effect on the morale of your work team.
The workplace is naturally competitive. Having friendships with coworkers can complicate this dynamic. You would typically want to see your friends grow and succeed, but what about when that comes at the cost of your own chances at success? Career competition can create rifts of jealousy between friends, harming the relationship and damaging the overall dynamic between coworkers.
Having friends in the workplace can make it tempting to share more personal information with coworkers. However, this can lead to workplace gossip that can make your job environment much more miserable. Losing boundaries between your work life and your personal life makes it much more tempting to engage in drama and more difficult to focus on your work.