15 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Make Friends At Work

15 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Make Friends At Work

Many things contribute to a great job. For some, it’s an easy commute, a nice boss, and fulfilling work. For others, it’s some cool perks like exciting travel, free fancy coffee drinks, and swag. It also seems like making friends at the office is a surefire way to enjoy your position. But work friends could negatively impact you. Here’s why your job and friendships might not mix.

1. You’ll get distracted.

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Whether you’re an independent person or you like having a huge social circle, you might find yourself distracted by your work friends. Instead of thinking about the piles of tasks in front of you, you’re wondering about your deskmate’s date last night or the family drama they’re going through. It can be hard enough to stay on track thanks to the text messages that inevitably come in throughout the day and the constant lure of social media. You can make it easier on yourself by avoiding work friendships.

2. If you complain about your boss, it might come back to haunt you.

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Office gossip feels fun… until it doesn’t. If you say something harsh about your manager and they find out, you may be put on a performance plan or, worse, you could lose your job. While you might say you won’t talk badly about work with your colleagues, that’s a lot easier said than done because after-work happy hours can often turn into vent sessions. It would be a shame to end up in this situation.

3. A co-worker’s negative feelings about their job might influence you.

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There are many ways to become a less negative person, but if your coworkers are always whining about the worst parts of your job, you might have trouble finding positivity. If they hate what they’re doing and want to quit, those comments might rub off on you. Besides, if you don’t agree with them and are just fine with your company, it’s not healthy or productive for you to hear their constant grievances.

4. You want the focus to be on your skills and accomplishments, not your social life.

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You may be the fun-loving person always up for adventure in your social circle, but at work, you want to be all business, right? While of course, you want to be polite and make small talk with your coworkers and manager, you don’t want them to think of you as anything other than a model employee. If you keep your distance, your reputation will stay intact.

5. You can use your breaks to be more productive and efficient (or for self-care).

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Maybe you like going for a brisk walk at lunchtime or it’s the perfect time to buy a few groceries, store them in the office fridge, and then take them home. Or you like catching up on podcasts while eating. If you befriend your coworkers, you might feel pressured to eat with them. Sure, they’re lovely people… but it’s nice to have some time to yourself during an otherwise stressful workday.

6. You’ll be able to engage in some friendly competition.

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While of course, you don’t want to be a jerk, there’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to perform at your very best. You want to be considered for a promotion and raise. You also want to be seen as someone who works hard and comes up with lots of ideas and solutions. If you get too close to your coworkers, you might shy away from putting yourself out there because they want the same role as you. It might sound a little harsh, but sometimes feeling like you’re competing with your colleagues is a great way to stay motivated and inspired.

7. You want to maintain some emotional distance from your job.

frustrated woman at work

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While feeling upset over a coworker’s comment or a missed promotion is natural, you definitely hope to leave emotion at the door when you walk into the office (or sit on the couch if you work from home). When possible, it’s good not to be emotional at work. This helps you think more clearly when making decisions and also keeps stress far away. Making good friends at work can make you too emotionally involved at the office, which will only have negative effects.

8. Making friends can make it harder to leave a toxic work situation.

sad woman in orange cardigan on couch

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There are many benefits to bonding with your coworkers. You’ll look forward to going to the office and it’s nice to feel like a part of a community. However, it’s also possible that if you feel deeply connected to the people you work with, it can be tough to quit when you know you’re undervalued. If you keep to yourself, you’ll be able to leave when the time is right without second-guessing your decision.

9. You’ll be able to achieve a work/life balance.

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Becoming close to colleagues can make it impossible to leave work behind at the end of the day and really unplug during weekends. You might text about other coworkers all the time or see each other outside of the office, but there’s something to be said about separating work from friendships. You’ll likely feel more relaxed.

10. You don’t want to argue with anyone.

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No matter how hard you try to be 100 percent professional, you might get swept up in an argument between two coworkers or a problem someone is having. This could affect how others see you, which would be a shame since it has nothing to do with you. While there are pros to befriending your deskmates or Zoommates, there are more cons.

11. It’s good to keep your personal life, well, personal.

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Depending on your office culture, you might not want to talk about politics with your coworkers or discuss that terrible time in the second grade when you were bullied. If you don’t make friends at the office, you can protect personal details you might not feel comfortable sharing. Otherwise, your work friends might tell everyone about that terrible first date you had when you would rather it stay in the vault.

12. Proximity and convenience can lead to surface-level friendships.

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While you and your coworkers work in the same industry, that might be all you have in common. It can be easy to make friends with people you see all the time, whether at school or work. That doesn’t mean you’re going to create deep connections. You might force something that doesn’t bring meaning to your life, which is another strike against office friendships.

13. Having too much fun at company events or holiday parties isn’t a good look.

female friends drinking and dancing at party

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If you become friends with several coworkers, that might make company gatherings more enjoyable. Unfortunately, it could also lead to having one drink too many and embarrassing yourself. If you don’t become pals with anyone at work, it’s easier to not get too rowdy and control how you appear to your boss. They won’t remember you as the one who had a little too much fun at last year’s Christmas party.

14. You don’t want to spill a coworker’s secret.

woman gossiping in an office

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Even if you have a friendly boss you get along great with, you don’t want conversations to be too personal. If you know too much about your coworkers, you might end up chatting with your manager one day and saying something you shouldn’t. This would not only make you feel horrible and guilty but would really hurt their feelings. It’s best to avoid this situation entirely.

15. You should get advice from your manager, not work friends.

two colleagues having heated conversation

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When you were in college or grad school, it was always better to ask a teacher a question rather than a classmate. The same thing is true at work. If you ask your work friends for advice about advancing in the company or what you should be doing, you might get wrong or bad information that will only put you in a worse spot. It’s much better to talk to your manager. They’ll like that you took the initiative and they know how to support your success.

16. Sick of the dating world but still want to find a partner? Turn your love life around with your mind.

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Discover the power of thought with our sister site, Sweetn. Their quick quiz and research-backed tools make finding love easy and fun by transforming the way you think about dating and relationships. Click to try now — it only takes a few weeks to see a difference.

Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.
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