Work BFFs make the office a happier place. They send you funny cat videos, are your number-one midday coffee date, and know when you’ve had a bad day and need some cheering up over happy hour. They also provide support, loyalty, and motivation for you to become the #girlboss you’re destined to be. If you’re lucky enough to have a work wife or hubby, though, there are some bad habits that can turn your friendship into a career fail.
You might think your twosome is wholesome and inclusive, but keep in mind that your friendship can easily be perceived as a clique. Being too reliant on your work wife and missing out on building relationships with other people at the company can stall your progress. Remember when you’re reading these six tips that the way to find upward mobility is through relationships — plural.
1. Keep it offline. You might be tempted to use your professional work email address to share personal details or plan a happy hour — especially when you and your work BFF are already emailing about a project. Protect yourself by keeping them separate. You don’t know who has access to your emails, so even if it seems silly emailing the same person about a work question or your crazy Friday night on different email accounts, it ensures no one else is reading about your embarrassing moments or criticisms of the boss. And yes, companies access employees’ emails more than you think.
2. Only bring up your work peeves and opinions far away from the office. A little gossip can’t hurt anyone, right? Wrong. Gossip can kill careers. If you need to vent about work, do it offline (avoid those personal emails too) and far away from the office or any popular company hangouts, including the go-to coffee place down the block. Gossiping is a bad habit to get into with a work BFF, so try to talk about any of your concerns or annoyances with a friend that doesn’t double as a coworker.
3. Don’t overdo your nine-to-five friendship during work hours. Work besties are awesome, but they’re also very distracting. If you chat via Slack, Gchat, and iMessage all day long, it’s going to be a problem — even if some of it’s about work. Think people don’t notice that you two are texting one another during a meeting or creating Instagram Stories at the office? Think again. When you’re at the office, work always needs to be priority number one, as well as appear that way to your boss. Heavily cut back your personal convos during the day, both online and off.
4. Expand your inner circle. You need to have more than one confidant or ally at work, so make a conscious effort to build relationships with other people at the office. Get a latte with your new manager or ask the girl in marketing who just got promoted to grab lunch with you. The more people you’re close with, the more opportunities you’ll uncover.
5. Put in the effort to maintain your friendship through the competition. Your work wife can also be your competition. You might be vying for the same projects or promotions, which would create tension in any happy relationship. Don’t let your friendship suffer if one person scores the promotion/raise/presentation and the other doesn’t. If you know you won’t be able to help it or think the opposite is true, then let that be some valuable insight into how much dirt you should trust your work wife with.
6. Anticipate and squash separation anxiety. The day will come when one of you says, “I’m out,” leaving the remaining friend alone, nervous, and sad. Be prepared by not depending on only one person as your source of support and entertainment.
What are your tips for working with your BFF? Tell us about it @BritandCo.
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