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Making Friends at Work

A real friendship is a true value in our life. But when friendships are connected with work, this statement isn’t always true. So what’s more reasonable: to divide private life and work or to maintain friendly relations with colleagues?


According to a British placement service’s investigation among more than 500 employees in Britain, most of these employees prefer to divide work and friendships. One in six employees don’t have friendly relations with colleagues, and another half have friendly relations with only 1-2 colleagues. Our culture assumes a more private work atmosphere. Colleagues become not only friends, but also a second family that helps in times of need. We can’t just decide to not love people with whom we work, and we should trust our colleagues or else our professional life can be a failure.


Market relations


Such a situation has existed in previous years too. Nowadays, it is mostly a trait of national enterprises. There is still, however, a private law saying that you shouldn’t demonstrate your careerism. In commercial enterprises and western companies, the situation is different. “Nothing personal – it’s just a job,” is the attitude of American people. This is becoming more and more common in USA labor collectives as well. There is competitive activity among employees, with attention paid only to professional growth. There is just no time for friendship.


According to specialist’s opinions, increasing duties leaves less time for colleagues to build friendships. Unfortunately, the words “work-friend” have become something of the past. A rare person might take colleagues as possible friends; but is it right?


Support and a shoulder to cry on


Doctor Jan Ager, the author of the book, “Friendship: Its Strength and Influence on Your Life”, thinks that official relations can have a great influence on your career. Some of her reasons are listed below.


  1. A friend can recommend you for a vacant place within her enterprise. She is a reference to your professionalism, your loyalty, and your decency. It often happens that enterprises prefer to give a job to a person based on the recommendation of a colleague. It is more reliable and also cheaper because they don’t have to pay recruiting agencies.
  2. A friend can help you specialize in new skills, new job roles, and can help you learn about corporate rules. He or she can also help you get contacts with important people.
  3. During a private talk, a friend can allude about future trends of development. She can share your boss’s opinion of your work. And it is very valuable to know beforehand what you boss expects from you, because you can justify his hopes. It is also important to know if your boss is not pleased with your work because you’ll have time to prepare any necessary explanations.
  4. A friend is your ally. For example, at a conference he or she can express his or her opinion on a difficult task and evaluate your results. He or she can also form a preliminary leadership opinion about your contributions to the business.
  5. A friend can support you when your boss yells at your or when a colleague drives you to tears. Support and sympathy can be of a great help.

A friendship at work, however, has its negative points.


  1. Overly intimate relations with colleagues can influence the effectiveness of work.
  2. Personal or professional secrets can fall into the hands of bad people. Sometimes information that you share with your friend can act against you, especially if a person knows something than can compete against you.
  3. Unfortunately, treason is not a rare thing in our offices. People develop careers and stop for nothing. A colleague can betray you as a sign of devotion to a boss who promotes him or her. Conflicts are an essential part of a modern corporate culture, but be careful trusting a colleague. It is not worth completely confiding in people because private information can be a notorious revealer of details.
  4. Friendship at work leads to an association of your qualities with those of your friend. If you’re always together, people expect similar behavior and similar results from you. It is good when your friend is a successful person, because in this case she can help you make a good career as well. But it can work against you. He or she can pull you into a bog of professional failures. Anyway, it is better if you’re valuable according your personal results and achievements.

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