I have always firmly believed that your work life should be separate from your personal life. To me, keeping your work relationships separate from your personal relationships keeps you from crossing ethical lines and keeps work what it should be- work. Essentially, pleasantries have no place in work life norms.
Don’t get me wrong, having strong mentors and people you can rely on at work is incredibly important, especially to your success. While being friendly is always a good idea, here’s why you should keep your relationships from getting too personal.
You won’t advance
While making friends at work when you’re young and single makes seems “easy,” it can be detrimental to your career. If your boss sees you as being too chummy with your coworkers, it can make it harder to distinguish you as a leader and someone they would respect were they to promote you to a higher position. Becoming a part of the crowd makes it harder to make yourself unique and stand out.
Management may also worry that you have “good friends” and just “regular friends” and that team members will receive preferential treatment based on their “BFF level.” That’s not to say you can never advance is you have close friends in the office, but this is something incredibly important to keep in mind.
You make yourself as a target for gossip
We all know the horrors of cliques. The more you associate with coworkers, the more you open yourself up to getting sucked into one particular group and thus opening your life up to gossip. While your personal life is no one’s business, just keep in mind that people do talk, and that gossip and rumors- even if they aren’t true, have ruined plenty of bright careers.
You can become collateral damage
“They,” say that you become like the five people you hang out with the most. If you’re hanging out with people at work who aren’t known for their drive, work ethic, and productivity people are going to perceive you to be just like them. On top of that, God forbid one of your coworkers do something illegal, and you look guilty by association. Like I said above, gossip, whether it be true or untrue, has ruined careers.
You set yourself up for drama
I don’t know about you, but I come to work to do my job, not to deal with petty drama. Giving your coworkers access to your personal life whether it be through social media or telling them about your new hook-up etc. is a recipe for drama. They read all of your political Facebook posts, they see the silly pictures of you and your friends on Instagram, and they view your drunken Snapchat stories- and they form opinions about who you are and your work ethic based on these things. Personally, I have made it a rule NOT to be friends with coworkers on Facebook (besides a very select few). If I want to connect with them, I use Linkedin.
You make your work-life balance impossible
When does work end and when does it stop when you’re always with your coworkers? Chances are if you’re going out together or spending time with them outside of the office; someone is going to bring up the manager they don’t like or the project that needs to be worked on. Your time off is your time off, and it’s essential to your productivity that you’re able to come back to work energized, refreshed, and motivated to do your best.
I’m not saying sit in your cubicle like a hermit and mumble a barely there response when someone says, “good morning” or asks how your weekend was. Be congenial, be willing to help others, and be a team player- just don’t be too close. Keep your work life and personal life separate to stay on the best career track you can.