Finding Friends, Anywhere
Published on June 10, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I humbly suggest that it's OK to be friends with the people you work with.

Here's an excerpt:

"I used to hang out with a colleague who didn’t believe in forming close friendships with the people she worked with.

'We can’t really be friends,' she once told me, during a day spent sailing and picnicking. 'At least, not good friends. We work together.'

I didn’t really know what to say to this.

For one thing, it seemed like the sort of thought you might just keep to yourself. Even if it was true, why point it out? But it was also the sort of comment that made me feel like just packing up and going home. Why would I want to spend the day with someone who could never be anything more than a good acquaintance? Wouldn’t I rather devote my limited energy for socializing to people I actually care about? And who care about me?

Not surprisingly, my friendship (or nonfriendship) with my colleague eventually fizzled out. We drifted apart, as people sometimes do, but the nature of our rupture was ultimately philosophical: I believe that you can be friends with the people you work with, and she does not.

If you Google the words 'workplace friendship,' you’ll find countless articles and essays and blog posts on the topic. They have titles such as 'The Three Rules of Workplace Friendships' and 'Workplace Friendships: Asset or Liability?' and 'The Top 10 Tips for Workplace Friendships.'

This last piece, from U.S. News and World Report, offers such tips as 'keep your business and personal lives separate,' 'use the friendship to your benefit' and 'don’t complain about your boss.' Another piece, on The Daily Mail website, seemed to view workplace friendships as a tragic consequence of modern life, suggesting that our 'work colleagues are our closest friends because we are too busy to keep in touch with old mates.'

I read the articles on workplace friendship with the same curiosity I might bring to an etiquette guide from an alien planet."

Click here to read the whole thing.

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