3 Things You Need to Know About Navigating Your Relationship with Coworkers

NO, this isn’t a post about those kind of work relationships.  Maybe I’ll leave it for Valentine’s Day to talk about dating coworkers.  I’m talking about navigating friendships with coworkers.  Many of us work with people who we consider friends; heck, you might even catch a movie with them on a Friday night or grab a bite to eat after work once or twice a week.  The longer you’re at a company, the closer of a bond you have with these groups of people and you feel a closeness because you’re on the same team working towards the same goals, dealing with the same boss, and dealing with the same stress day day in and day out.  But are they really your friends?  Can you trust them with everything?

Okay, okay, I’m not saying you should be as extreme as the great Stone Cold Steve Austin, but here’s 3 topics you may want to steer away from when you’re sitting down at TGI Friday’s on your next trivia night:

Don’t Talk About Your Salary

This one should be obvious but I’ll say it anyway.  There are really no positives for you to share salary information with your coworkers.  A client once told me that her coworker “friends” were at dinner one night talking about end of the year raises and salaries and all that good stuff, and she told them how much she’d be making in the new year, and it wound up she was making more than they were.  They had all been at the company for around the same amount of time, so as you can imagine, the rest of the dinner was as awkward as a blind date where you find out the other person still sleeps with a teddy bear.  So I dare you, if you really consider your coworkers your friends, and I hope they are, go ahead and tell them how much you make.  You’ll find out pretty quickly if they’re actually your friends or maybe you guys weren’t as close as you thought.  (You may find yourself batting last on the company softball team this year)

serious multiethnic coworkers working on business project in office

Don’t Talk Bad About Your Boss or Another Coworker

We all do it at one point or another in life.  Complain about a boss or another coworker for that matter.  Since you feel like you’re in the trenches with your coworkers it seems like it’s only natural to share your complaints.  This once again is a path you don’t want to head down.  Even a harmless comment like “Wow, Jim really seems like he’s in a mood today” can find a way to get you in hot water.  There’s really no upside of talking about someone behind their back at work.  I’m not saying it’s easy because I think we have a tendency to be negative at work occasionally (shocking) but it really doesn’t do any good for anyone.  I’m not saying you have to be Mr. or Miss pep rally and love everything about the people you work with either and gush about how great everything is, but just don’t be the person that is saying things about a boss or coworker that they wouldn’t say to their face.

Don’t Let Them Know You’re Looking For Another Job or Accepted Another Role

I know, I know, you’ve worked with them for so long and you don’t want to blindside them right?  Well let’s play out this scenario.  You mention to Suzie (not sure how popular of a name Suzie is now adays but I was watching Peppa Pig this morning and Suzie Sheep was in the episode so that’s where that name popped in my head)..so you mention to Suzie that you’re interviewing for another position.  Suzie is talking to your other coworker friend about it and your boss happens to over hear the conversation.  Fast forward a couple days later and you find out you don’t get that job, and now your boss is on edge thinking that you are going to be leaving and is thinking about replacements.  Not a good situation right?  I know it’s hard to keep stuff like that to yourself, but please, it’s for your own sake.  Wait until after you get the job and then you can tell as many people as you want and they can throw you a big going away party at The Cheesecake Factory.

photo of women at the meeting

The relationship we have with coworkers is certainly a tricky one.  In today’s business world, with so many of us taking new jobs after only a few years, we tend to meet and leave more and more coworkers.  Some you may stay in touch with for the rest of your life, and I hope you do, but a majority of them you’ll maybe hear from once or twice and then never again so it’s important to really evaluate your relationship before letting them in on personal information.  I can’t judge your relationship so if your reading this and thinking to yourself “Hey, my coworker Timmy is my best friend and he’s the godfather to my son” then I’ll take the criticism on that one, but for the majority of you, please use your judgment.

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