Want to be better friends with your coworkers? Work friendships are sometimes tricky to navigate. There are pros and cons to becoming friends with the folks in the office, but overall it can be a very positive thing. To keep your office friendship strong, here are a few tips.
Understand Office Boundaries
Office friendships are different in that you must keep your relationship on a professional level. The worst thing you can do with an office friend is betray a confidence accidentally or behave inappropriately at work. This will not only embarrass you both, it could jeopardize your job.
Some things to avoid:
- Hugging. You might want to give a supportive hug, but unless it's really warranted (a death in the family, a promotion), wait until you're outside the office.
- Gifts. It's okay to give your pal a present if everyone else is, but otherwise do it outside the office.
- Giggling. Having fun while you do your job is great, but if you make a point to sit and giggle like children, it will become a point of distraction between you and your coworkers.
Offer Appropriate Encouragement
Part of the benefits of having an office friend is that they are there to encourage you. Feel free to offer up your support to a pal when they are having a bad day or just deserve some extra recognition. Appropriate ways to let them know you care are:
- Handwritten note. While lavish gifts and balloons generally aren't cool in an office, a simple note penned in your own hand can go miles toward goodwill and friendship.
- Listening. You don't want to sit in your friend's office and talk about people all day, but you can give them an ear to vent from time to time. Just be sure to take long conversations out of the office. (Learn more about active listening, which can help you pick up on things you wouldn't have normally realized.)
- Smile. You'd be surprised how far a friendly face goes when it comes to making work more enjoyable.
Bond Outside of the Office
In order to bring your friendship to a more personal level, you'll have to spend some time outside of the office. This can mean going out for lunch, having a drink after work, or even enjoying a workout before the day begins. If you're really good friends, you can also share some weekend time with a dinner or game night with other people. Taking time away from the office will strengthen your friendship when you're back at work.