Work Friends Vs Real Friends
Is it really possible to have work friends? Is this encouraged? Should you even have any work friends?
If you work the regular 9-5 traditional job, chances are that you spend a lot of time with the people you work with. It’s human nature to become friends with people you surround yourself with frequently!
This means it is more common to become friends with your co-workers. But are these your real friends? What does real friendship look like?
Are your work colleagues the people you turn to when you are having a hard time?
As far as I am concerned friends are people that you can absolutely rely on no matter the circumstances.
It doesn’t mean that you can not strike up a good friendship with your colleagues.
What Is The Difference Between A Friend And A Colleague?
A true friend is someone you tend to know very well, you entrust them with your most personal things and information and you can count on them at any time if needed.
They have your back and in most cases, know most of your interests and dislikes. Work friends are typically looked at as professional work colleague.
People that you can rely on when it comes to helping you to achieve better results in the workplace.
You wouldn’t necessarily go to them to discuss your personal life.
Most work friends, leave their work relationships every day as soon as they leave for the day. And that is why it is typically hard to build a personal relationship with them.
By following some rules and setting boundaries, you can make work friends you go to people.
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Is It True That Work Friends Are Not Real Friends?
According to the Tim Sackett Project, “Only 15% of people believe they have a ‘real’ friend at work.”
Based on further research from the post:
- 41% are just Coworkers. We work together. We get along. But we never hang.
- 22% are Strangers. They work in the same place I do, but I have no idea who they are.
- 20% are Only At Work Friends. We sit at lunch together, we talk about our families, but after work, we have separate lives.
- 15% are Real Friends. These are my people. We work together, but we also vacation together, go for drinks, play on the same softball team, etc.
- 2% are Enemies. I spend most of my waking hours searching or ways to ruin their lives.
I truly believe you can have it both ways.
I have had long-lasting friendships with some of my work colleagues from my previous jobs! Believe it or not, some of my best friendships have come from work friends I have met along my career path.
It will really depend on how you both treat your relationships and if you are on the same page as the other person.
Can You Be Friends With Your Boss
Yes you can be friends with your boss provided that you both respect and earn each others trust.
I don’t think I would go out drinking with my boss or even share my deepest secrets with them. If you attempt to become friends with your boss, don’t expect special treatment.
I would keep all your activities outside of work and just focus on your job when you go into the work place.
Ways To Build A Successful Friendship At Work
I personally truly believe that having work friends is healthy and it definitely motivates you to work more and harder!
Friendship increases productivity in the workplace.
Those that have a healthy work environment and are friends with their co-workers tend to enjoy work more. I believe having at least one healthy relationship (friendship), is a good idea for all involve.
In order to have great work friends and ensure no lines or boundaries are crossed, read our tip below on building successful work relationships with your co-workers!
1// Make the Introduction
If its your first day off work or the beginning of starting new friendships at work, take the initiative and introduce yourself!
If you have a lunch room or you are at a social setting such as a staff retreat, introduce yourself to other co workers and strike up conversations.
This is the best way to start a great relationship with work friends.
2// Be A Team Player
I am really big on those that are team players. This means, they care about everyone else and will jump in to help where needed!
If your office is short-staffed one day, volunteer your time to help where needed.
When work asks for volunteers in different aspects of the office, be sure to participate. The more involved you are, the more people will begin to appreciate what you do.
Don’t let your own work suffer because of this though!
3// Participate in Work Events
Another place to successfully build work friends is by attending work events!
The environment is typically less formal which makes it really easy to strike up conversations with other co workers.
If your work place is hosting a staff picnic, staff retreat or even a BBQ be sure to go ahead and attend these as this is a good place to be a lot less professional in terms of environment.
Be sure to strike up a few conversations with your colleagues.
4// Plan A Small Get-together With Your Work Friends
If your work place does not participate in staff retreats or social gatherings, don’t be afraid to take the initiative and plan one. It doesn’t have to a be a huge event.
Simply send out an email to a few people from your work and invite them for a lunch, after work drinks or after work dinner!
The key is to make the plans for after work as most people especially if it’s their first time, will not attend on weekends.
5// Be Positive
Work can sometimes be overwhelming for some, and sometimes people might not just love where they work. This typically leads to negative talk, low self-esteem or toxic environment.
Stay positive and avoid talking bad.
Most people will stay away from the person or even groups of people that are always negative or seem to be constantly complaining about something.
If this is you, try to stay positive and find ways to deal with anything soon than later.
6// Avoid Work Gossip Especially About Other Work Friends
Keeping with the same above, try not to talk bad about other work mates. This is extremely important in every way and even more important if you are friends with the boss.
If you talk about people behind their back it could lead to mistrust, someone perhaps getting fired and it’s just not a good look on anyone.
In other words, don’t gossip!
7// Have Boundaries
Remember that you are at work to work.
This is not a place to socialize and this should be kept to a minimum. Keep your chit chat to after work, during lunch or when you are on break.
Also keep in my mind that your choice of becoming friends with someone was your choice.
This should not be a reason to give other people special treatment just because you are friends with certain people at work.
This is why we highly recommend setting boundaries all around!
8// Respect Other People’s Time
Just because you have a little free time, doesn’t mean that you have to go to your colleague’s desk to chat! Don’t hang around their desks either hoping to get a quick chat in.
Respect that they have work to get done and you can meet up when you are both on break or after work!
Ideally, keep work at work and the personal outside of work as much as possible!
9// Welcome New Employees with Open Arms
If you organization has just hired a new person, be the first to welcome them and make them feel at home.
They are a few things you can do to make a new employee feel welcomed:
- Show them around the office
- Introduce them to other colleagues
- Show them where things are in the office
- Tell them about the procedures and expectations so they do better
- Set them up for success
- And encourage the new person to openly ask you questions or ask for more help
By doing this, you are encouraging trust as well as an open door possibility with the new person. This can easily turn into a friendship!
10// Approach Social Media With Caution
I personally do not encourage friending your co-workers on Social Media. Depending on your postings, co workers do not need to see everything you post on social media!
If you do become friends with co workers on social media, keep it clean!
Otherwise, respectfully decline any invitations to be friends with co workers on social media!
11// Choose your Work Friends Wisely
And last but not least, choose your work friends wisely.
We do not suggest being friends with just anyone. Some people may not have your best interest at heart!
They might smile and laugh with, but may be secretly doing you bad.
Just be weary and proceed with caution!