Should you be friends with coworkers?

posted 3 years ago in Career
  • poll: Is it appropriate to be friends with coworkers?
    Yes, always : (48 votes)
    27 %
    Yes, if you are peers : (55 votes)
    31 %
    Yes, provided there is no reporting relationship : (53 votes)
    30 %
    No, never : (20 votes)
    11 %
  • Post # 3
    490 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2013 - Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

    I don’t think it matters if there is a reporting relationship as long as your work life and social life don’t bleed together. If you have a reporting relationship with them, just don’t walk around the office talking about how you guys had a dinner party the other weekend. 

    My husband works directly for two managers on a specific program and they both invited us over to their houses for Christmas parties. He was only one of two people of his level at both of the parties and it was a ton of fun. Unfortunately, I haven’t made the same relationships with my coworkers due to age/family differences.

    Post # 4
    2576 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    @MrsPanda99:  Eh, honestly, I try not to mix work with pleasure. I’m civil to co-workers, but steer clear of going out after hours and the like. I have found however, that I became really good friends with co-workers once I left the position. Then we didn’t have that professional veil separating us.

    The way I see it, my available time is very limited. If I hang out with people on a social level, I don’t like to be censored/be on my best behavior. I feel censored around co-workers, so I just don’t see the point.

    Post # 5
    164 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    At my last job it was hard not to get personal because we had 4 girls sitting in one areas and we can all hear each other phone calls, etc. You end up sharing so much of your life with these people, so if you click, why not be friends? I left that job but some have remained real friends that I keep in touch with! 

    Post # 6
    2740 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2010

    I want to be friendly with my coworkers, but not necessarily friends, if that makes any sense.  I try to keep my work life and private life separate, and to be honest, 40+ hours a week with my coworkers is enough!

    Also, I’m an attorney in a field that’s still mostly male dominated, and most of the women around my age and at similar life stages have been subordinate to me (legal assistants or paralegals), and the men in my office are older and superior to me.  Maybe if I had a bunch of cool coworkers I was on even footing with I’d feel differently about making friends at work, but as it is I don’t think it’s very professional to socialize with people I supervise (or am supervised by) after hours.  

    Post # 7
    487 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    @MrsPanda99:  I became close with a couple girls I used to work with, and we would occasionally go out for drinks or go shopping or whatever.


    When I became their supervisor, it made things very awkward. I wasn’t allowed to do it anymore, and I had to be the boss. It was hard because I respected these women as friends. It caused me a lot of anxiety and quite a few problems.


    I am in the pool of leaving work at work, and, unfortunately, I believe that includes the people :/

    Post # 8
    1627 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    Sure as long as the friendship doesn’t get in the way of work. 

    As my friend don expect me to cover for your poor performance and don’t expect me to let you slack. As mybfriend and boss tell me the truth if I need to improve and don’t expect more of me because of our relationship. Both parties need to be mature about the situation.

    Post # 9
    1581 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    A lot of my close friends are or have been coworkers, but there’s never been a reporting relationship.

    Post # 10
    493 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    I work in a field where our hours are long and our shared experiences intense, and many of us are similar in age. So naturally some friendships develop. But I have seen the drama that can ensue when one friend is promoted above another, or the dysfunction that can come when a boss forms a close friendship with a subordinate. So while I have many friends who are current or former coworkers, I can see clear arguments for being friendly but not friends in at least some work situations.

    Post # 11
    7997 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2013

    I was burned once by this so I am quite careful now.

    When I first started my job I become fast friends with a girl who worked in the office as well. No reporting relationship or anything. We did stuff outside of work and I really liked her. Out of the blue, she started doing stuff like settiing her FB to limited profile, and gradually distancing herself from me. One day she went on a rant (at work) about how I did not deserve my job. I spent like an hour crying in the work bathroom after that one. To this day I have no idea what I did wrong. She got another job a number of months ago and she finally deleted me from FB. Work was super awkward for a couple of years after that incident. Luckily I didn’t need to directly interact with her that often, but I still saw her on a daily basis.

    I don’t completely shut myself off from work friendships.. like I am very close with my team member and we do occasionally hang out after work. I don’t see her turning on me. I guess I am trying to get better at reading people… and learning a bit about their character before I start sharing my deepest, darkest secrets with them. I am definitely more cautious when new people are hired, but I try and be friendly with everyone. I just don’t start jumping to doing out of work activities with them.

    It’s funny.. I met my husband at work so obviously I do cultivate friendships… but yeah, I am much more careful after having that awful experience with that girl.

    Post # 12
    6953 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2015

    @MrsPanda99:  My rule is “always friendly, never friends”. I once worked in a department where everyone, including the manager, were in our twenties. We all worked hard and really well together. We’d often have lunch and once in a while go out after work. Never any drama except one day two VPs came up to my manager and I seperately to let us know the upper management was concerned we were a “clique” and we should cool it. So weird but it made me gun-shy  of even the best work friendships. 

    Post # 13
    552 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    At my first full time job I was friends with all my coworkers. We played ball together, curled together, and partied together. We were all in our 20s and we had lots of fun, but in retrospect getting drunk with my boss was a terrible idea, lol. In the end I think we all got pretty burnt out on each other and ended up going our seperate ways. I like to keep my work life and private life seperate now. I’m great friends with the two guys on my shift when we are working, but I would never see them outside of work. Of course they and all my other coworkers are old men (they’re all over 40, the guys on my shift are 48 and 64) so it would be pretty awkward if I did see them out of work. Even if I had a bunch of coworkers closer to my age I would still be very hesitant to see them outside of work. It’s hard to keep things professional when you’re seeing people outside of work.

    Post # 14
    9859 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: May 2014

    @MrsPanda99:  one of my former coworkers is now one of my best friends and a BM in my wedding and I in hers.  We started working together at Job A, she left for a new job in the same mall as a supervisor.  I also left Job A and she got me a job at the new place where she was my supervisor (she had been at Job A as well).  We became friends and stayed friends.

    I think as long as you aren’t chumming with the boss to the point that people suspect inappropriate behaviour you’re fine. 

    For example – at one of FH’s staff outings, his boss drank A LOT (he does this when his wife isn’t around apparently), FH comes home and tells me that the boss and a female coworker were in a compromising situation and it made FH really uncomfortable.  FH has now lost respect for his boss (We did since find out that another employee went back and ‘rescued’ the female employee).  Being social is fine IMO – situations like this, not so much.

    Post # 16
    2428 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I met my two closest friends through work and I don’t know what I would do without them! I have been friends with one for almost 9 years (met my fiance through her also) and the other for 8. They are both in my wedding. I was a lot younger then and more open to meeting new people so I can’t say the same for the person I am now. So I think it just varies. I was very lucky and know that it’s not typical.

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