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Can My Colleagues And I Be Friends?

Hiya! I like how today's topic merges Love-Wednesday with Career-Wednesday. Nice!

It might be tempting to hang out at the canteen/kitchen half the time and indulge in the latest gists or have a friendly sport fight. But these easy friendships with coworkers must be handled with care.

Should Colleagues Become Friends?

I make friends easily.

I am so good at connecting with people, but the only problem is I am terrible when it comes to staying in touch. The friends who are closest to me right now are the ones who made the effort. And I don't take credit for that.

I'm learning to go beyond meeting people and connecting with them. I want to be a part of their lives. If possible, to force myself on them. Lol.

So, can I be friends with my colleagues? Super yes!

It's possible, and it's probably easier than you think. 

How to Be Friends

It is sooo easy to find people to get along with for a one or two hang out. It is easy to find people that will want to hang out with you this one time because you are both at the same orientation or boring meeting or something, but it is MUCH more difficult to find people that will call you a friend. People who would say, "Hey! I saw this and it made me think of you. How are you doing?"

My biggest tip on making friends would be talk about things that are memorable. Don't talk about general things like the weather or sports, unless they are sports freaks. Find out their passions, talk about the things they deeply care about, talk about God. Talk about things that they will remember about you, things that are uniquely YOU. Then when they like these things that make you you, they will remember you again, and want a deeper, more meaningful friendship/relationship.

Although, you have to be careful when it comes to being friends with your colleagues because it's like walking on eggshells. 

Eggs That May Break

Before you get too friendly, consider the cons of a relationship from "colleague" to "friend:"
  • Betrayal of trust - People who become friends on the job may share too much personal information about themselves, which can later be misused.
  • Competition - Friends at work, despite being friends, tend to compete with each other and this leads to the downfall of their friendship.
  • Politics/partiality - When a superior is a friend of a subordinate, other employees may misunderstand all his/ her actions to be biased and it can create jealousy and a sense of unfairness at the workplace.

BUT what if we are underestimating the impact of friendships with our colleagues on the journey to our career development — and our effectiveness?

I believe our jobs are more satisfying when they provide opportunities to form friendships. Groups of friends outperform groups of acquaintances in both decision making and effort tasks.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

If you are new to a position or company, or working with a new group of people, you may want to keep your relationships with colleagues on a superficial level for a bit. Not because you are trying to avoid making friends at work, but more because you are treading lightly to separate those that just want to obtain information from you, from the people that would actually like to connect with you on a friendly level.

Take your time . . . then choose. (Pray about that)

All you need to do is to SET BOUNDARIES. Always draw the line by not getting too personal and always maintain ample space for the friendship to thrive. It's also healthy, not to spill the beans to others in the office, however strong the urge, about your office friend.

When friends work together, they’re more trusting and committed to one another’s growth and success. That means they share more information and spend more time helping — and as long as they don’t hold back on constructive criticism out of politeness, you make better choices and get more done.

Yes, Colleagues Can Be Friends

It's best to keep healthy relationships at your workplace. Maintain a high degree of professionalism and cordiality. Have a strong work ethic and be true to your work. Stay out of office politics. Stay out of office gossip. Stay out of corruption. Stay true to WHO you are.

For a good balance, being friends with your colleagues is good for your career. You will perform better, achieve more, advance more quickly within your organization and even enjoy better health. When it’s time to quit your job and move on, it may be tough to leave these friends, but you’ll be in a better position to find the next best thing.

Thanks for reading. Share your thoughts. 

P.s The two girls in the picture left the company (resigned) just before hitting the publish button. Life.

Written by Nwamaka Ajaegbu 
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