Claire's Corner

Work Friends: Proceed with Caution


We spend at least 8 hours daily from Monday to Friday in a space working towards a purpose in exchange for monetary compensation: work.

As we engage and examine our fellow colleagues, our work/life barriers can sometimes weaken and we develop quasi relationships with unknown characters. Becoming friends with a colleague could be a stepping stone to a solid, longtime relationship or the fusion of two combustible entities. Personally, my experiences have been a mixed bag of joy, disappointment and gratitude. Though unconventional, work relationships have provided clarity, self growth and life lessons.

From the beginning, I had my doubts about your grand gestures and side hustles. Your long-winded stories and big heart captivated my senses. I ignored my logic and betrayed all of my rules. Our friendship was swift and exciting. Hours spent venting about our boyfriends in between servicing our clients strengthen our bond. Your approach was a bit brash but your “honesty” was welcomed in this petty environment. There were plenty of puffy eyed days as I tried to clock in and put my cheery face on but I knew  I could always migrate to your corner for a hug and a snack. We didn’t see each other much outside of the work confines but a planned trip to the nail salon or last-minute dinner date always kept the spark.

My first experience of making wine was with you and our conversations over cheesecake were so thick. As we celebrated birthdays and personal achievements, I allowed you to permeate the interworkings of my life. My siblings thought you were funny and my friends thought you were loud. Your need to impress your audience was a bit taxing and your lack of esteem was noticeable. As I rose through the ranks of our organization, your encouragement seemed to dip and your colors began to shine. The constant complaints of the “mean girls” and the lack of assessment initiated the demise of us. You could try all you want but we were not the same. Your tactics for advancement and acceptance involved small gifts for our bosses while I allowed my work and ethics to speak for itself. As our lives continued to mingle, various whispers warning me of your true nature never ceased. The friendship had to end after you attacked my character and could not allow work to stand apart.

When a work friend becomes your superior or attains a position you wanted for yourself, it can be a hard adjustment to make. The assumption of special privileges and the testing of boundaries often shape the new dynamic. You provided the blessing but secretly wished for my demise. Your theatrics could bring me to tears and split my feelings. How can you call yourself a friend and embarrass me with your rants? How could you ask for understanding in the break room and then turn around and report me? How could someone I would never associate with in the real world affect me so profoundly? Was your goal to use me for my knowledge and contacts? Were you the main driver of the rumors and failed attempts of sabotage?

Work friends will provide a shoulder for comfort, order lunch with you, talk behind your back and ask you taboo questions. As an adult in the workforce, you must always be prepared for these types of seasonal arrangements. My tip is to not share anything that you wouldn’t want repeated. Observe them in advance before you engage personally to determine if they would add value to your life. Above all else, proceed with caution. ✌


Do you have friends at work? Please share your experiences below.


19 thoughts on “Work Friends: Proceed with Caution”

  1. I am honestly so thankful for my work friends, and all the people I have met through working at my current place of work for the past two years! I’ve faced some great hardships and they’ve helped me through every single one. I can’t imagine my life without them 🙂

    1. Some people can’t separate business and friendship. I had a similar situation in 2015. Perhaps we got too close? Although it hurt me, I’m glad the fallout happened because I saw their true colors. Your only true friends are your family through thick n thin!

  2. I’ve had bad experiences with work friends, too. I am much more cautious now, but currently one of my best friends is a colleague. I didn’t rush in to the friendship, and I agree with you to proceed with caution, but you can meet some amazing people at work…and some not so amazing people. I guess it’s just like anywhere. Nicely said Claire!

  3. I have to admit I work from home on my blog so I have my blogging friends, which are sort of like work friends, but closer as we share so much more than I did with old work colleagues.

  4. Most of my closest friends are people I met at work, but I have encountered people like the one you’re describing! You recognise them after the first one, and don’t make the same mistake again after that!

  5. I’m a nanny so I don’t work with other people really as I’m sole charge. It’s just me and the kids. I’ve worked in nurseries though and I really did struggle working with others. I was the youngest and I was in charge. I knew exactly what I was doing but the people I was in charge of didn’t like me telling them what to do! I personally wouldn’t want to go back to that kind of working environment again as some people can be very rude and talk behind your back!

  6. I have seen both the good and bad of this… But I’ve found that the actual friendships I’ve made at work were with people who are not in my departments, typically… The odd occassion has happened where I was in the same team, but it is rare… If they’re in a different team or department, I found that they don’t try to muscle their way above you, so to speak… They don’t try backhanded tactics to make you look bad or anything like that… Because they won’t actually gain anything from it.

  7. My mummy has been working with her closest male work friend for over 10 years, but after she returned from maternity leave things had changed and moved on, they are still close but ambition got in the way. So can totally relate with proceed with caution.

  8. I’m lucky enough to have some amazing work friends, but it hasn’t always been like that in all of my jobs!
    I do love an office meme or two 🙂

    Dani x

  9. I’ve just started a new job so I’m going through the stage of meeting people and sussing out who to trust. Hopefully I’ll make some friends for life.

  10. I used to work in a place with friends and it really was terrible. I’ve made my friends there, I didn’t know them before but they were all about who is first. I have the boss CC emails, they are the worst.

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