Friends in the Workplace: Are they Important?

There have been many claims in the past that maintaining friendships at work can damage your career, but the opposite may actually be true. In a recent study, researchers found that less than a quarter of people in America alone state that they’re satisfied with their friendships and nearly two-thirds say that they aren’t confident in even their closest friendships. According to the study Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are hit hardest by the trend, referred to as a mid-life friendship slump. At work, your friendships create an important dynamic and help you to develop strong interpersonal skills – something that we’ve lost in the digital age. Here are three ways to build connections that will last in the workplace.


1 – Research suggests that people don’t want more connections – they want more meaningful relationships. Instead of planning company outings that include large groups of people, think a little smaller – one on one programmes or small-scale retreats are great for helping people to build strong relationships with their co-workers.


2 – It’s always difficult to share aspects of our personality with people – our hopes, fears and values can often be judged, so we refrain from exposing them. This is especially the case at work, but this is the keystone for forming bonds which are fuelled by trust and an understanding of who you’re working with. This doesn’t mean you need to get emotional on every customer care call you take, but don’t be afraid of letting your personality shine through at work.


3 – We tend to feel a closer bond with people who are like us, but much of the value in relationships is growth and learning – this comes more readily with people who are the opposite of who we are naturally drawn to. Encourage these types of friendships, as you might be pleasantly surprised how much they help you.

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