Making Friends at Work

Making Friends at Work

If you have friends at work you most likely enjoy your job more. But did you know that you make better decisions, are more engaged in your work, more committed, and productive? Making friends at work is more important than we give credit. Workplace friendships are one of the strongest predictors of productivity, according to research. Psychologist Ron Friedman points out in his book The Best Place To Work, managers don’t often recognize the importance of workplace friendships. “It’s because it’s easy to confuse the concept of friends at the office with the notion of fooling around,” Friedman explains. “Close friendships are perceived as a source of gossip, favoritism, and distraction. But that’s exactly the wrong way to think about what happens when we’re working with friends.” It turns out that meaningful connections are vital to our psychological and physical well-being. In fact, it’s impossible to perform at our best unless we feel connected to others. But making friends at work isn’t always easy. Work relationships can be complicated by notions of hierarchy and perceived utilitarian motives. Efforts to befriend someone can feel forced. When we meet another person for the first time, it’s a defining moment in how that relationship will develop. On a neurological basis, the human brain instantly picks up clues to whether a person is friend or foe. We select which coworker relationships to cultivate. Friendships at work are different than those in other contexts. The culture of the organization most likely has unspoken rules about appropriate social contacts. Three Types of Friendships Aristotle described three kinds of friends that meet different purposes. Friendships based...