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4 Reasons Coworkers Make Terrible Besties

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partying coworkers

It’s a bad idea to get too personal with your coworkers, for so many reasons.

Meeting with colleagues outside your cubicle farm for happy hour is no biggie, but letting the director of finance (or any fellow employee) into your personal life isn’t usually a good move.

Not convinced? This list of reasons why should quickly dispel any notions to the contrary:

1. Coworkers might air your dirty laundry

Look no further than The 40 Year Old Virgin to see the pitfalls of letting your colleagues into your personal affairs. After the main character Andy (Steve Carell) reveals his lack of experience in a certain…department, his coworkers immediately invade his personal space about very private matters.

Throughout the movie, they inundate Andy with unsolicited advice about love and continuously embarrass him. His coworker David (Paul Rudd) takes the cake when he stands outside of Andy’s apartment and screams, “Andy, for the last time, I don’t want your giant box of pornography!” Although this probably won’t happen to you (thank goodness), mixing business contacts and social media networks can be a recipe for disaster.

Need a real-world example? Five employees at Hispanics United of Buffalo, Inc. were fired the day after they made comments about a colleague on Facebook. They’ve been subsequently reinstated to their old jobs after a court determined their comments to be protected speech, but all of the involved parties endured significant turmoil as a result.

2. Colleagues may not be so fun outside work

Initially, it can be tempting to get to know your colleagues better and mingle with them in social settings. But remember that just because you work with these people doesn’t mean you’ll mesh with them outside the office.

You might discover your neighbor a few cubes away is an out-of-control party animal on the weekends with unhealthy habits, and she wants you to join in on the fun—even if you don’t.

Or maybe Anna from three cubes down might decide you’re not cool enough to hang out with her. If either person feels this way, it will make future work situations awkward.

3. You (or your colleague) could become co-dependent

Regardless of what you do off the clock with your work friends, things have gone too far when codependency issues arise.

Imagine hanging out with your work BFF all weekend and then, when you get into the office on Monday, he starts calling you to ask for your help with reports you know nothing about, just so you two can be together.

Better yet, what if your coworker becomes so needy that he starts asking you to call in sick with him? There’s no better way to peg the sketchy factor, especially if you get caught. (Even if you don’t, it’s still a creepy scenario.)

4. Everything becomes work-related

It might turn out you and your work bestie don’t have much in common except for work. Guess what you’ll be talking about almost all the time when you’re chillaxing together?

Things could easily get to the point where you’re in da club with your best work friend talking about how you want go on a tropical vacation, and somehow the conversation transitions into last week’s meeting or how it’s so stupid that you have to print everything two-sided now. Good times.

Seriously, who wants to talk about work when they’re not at work or getting paid to work?

So do yourself a favor by keeping work at work—and find yourself another way to make friends.

Seth J. Carr is a freelance writer with more than a decade of professional corporate and non-profit writing experience. Connect with him on Twitter @sethjcarr.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.alisonelissa.com/ Alison Elissa Horner

    I can appreciate one of the points of this article, that some discretion may be in order for what you share with a work friend, but I disagree with the overall idea that work friends are no good.

    I think it’s awesome to have friends at work. It helps the day go by faster to be around people you like. Plus, a friend may provide a connection or a recommendation or an in at a new company down the road.

    • http://twitter.com/dannyroth218 Danny Roth

      I agree with you. I think you need to be cautious with who your friends are, but universally saying that workmates make bad friends is wrong. I always make some friends at every job, and it’s never went bad for me. Though we talk about work, we also have a good time with other things as well. It’s very possible to do both.

      • Seth J. Carr

        Thank you for your comment. I understand your point. If you ready my article carefully, you’ll see that I’m not speaking out against having friends from work or being personal with friends from work. I’m simply saying that I don’t advise being best friends or besties with your coworkers.

  • mh
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    nice work