8 reasons not to hire your best friend or beloved relative

Friendship at work is much more useful and important than it might seem at first glance. Research shows that groups of co-friends make much better decisions than those in more or less “neutral” relationships. Friendship also promotes engagement and job satisfaction (not to mention just being nice to work with friends). Making friends is not always easy, especially for adults, but it can be done if you want. And psychologist Ron Friedman, in his book The Best Place To Work, gives useful advice on this topic.

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As Friedman explains, in most cases, people already have almost all the necessary “ingredients” for friendship at work (more or less close acquaintance, regular personal contact and certain similarities), usually only one is needed - sharing some secrets. According to many researchers, for friendship it is not enough just to talk - you need to share some personal information with the interlocutor. And as the “level of relationships” grows, the level of self-disclosure should also grow. When researchers at the University of Washington asked study participants about how they made friends with colleagues, they came to the conclusion that self-disclosure is important.

But sometimes in a work environment, sharing emotional, personal information can feel inappropriate. Business Insider analyzed Friedman's book, as well as the work Friendships Don't Just Happen by psychotraining author Shasta Nelson, and collected recommendations on how to do it correctly.

1. Start with a positive attitude. Friedman recommends creating positive shared experiences before sharing personal information. Your first few conversations with a colleague are of great importance, so the psychologist recommends not focusing on personal weaknesses, but demonstrating warmth and your own competence (as a specialist) to your interlocutor.

2. Don't force things. Self-disclosure, Friedman notes, is not something that needs to be rushed. Shasta Nelson advises starting small and gradually moving toward more and more personal information, becoming more confident in the process.

3. Try to make most interactions pleasant. For every negative discussion, there should be five positive ones, says Shasta Nelson. Complaints, harshness and work stress need to be very generously “diluted” with good things.

4. Look for similarities. Friedman calls similarities the main building material of friendship. He suggests starting a conversation about what you and your colleagues have in common: perhaps you support the same football club, like the same TV series, or have children around the same age.

5. Complete joint tasks. Work on joint projects that require you to work closely with your colleague to be successful. Ron Friedman believes that it is easier to communicate with people when it is clear that you are “on the same side” and cannot get the job done alone.

6. Talk about non-work related topics. The more people talk about non-work related things, the more likely they are to become friends, Friedman writes. Talk not about managers and deadlines, but about family, last weekend or hobbies.

7. Meet outside of work. Nelson recommends reserving as many very personal interactions as possible outside of work hours. She advises setting up work hours where the entire office can benefit from your friendship. Shasta Nelson believes that those who are friends should not be separated from the rest of the team, but rather included in it, be friendly not only with each other, but also with everyone else.

8. Evaluate the relationship together. Discuss your friendships—be sure to talk about the boundaries that are important to you at work, says Shasta Nelson.
She recommends asking questions like, “Are things bothering you about friendships at work?” or “What can we do to reduce anxiety?”

Friendship and work: are they compatible?

relationships work friendship The proverb says: “Friendship is friendship, and service is service.” This may be true, but is everything really so simple? How compatible are work and friendship and how to maintain relationships when business or official subordination interferes with them?

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As the Gallup Center for Public Opinion Research found, having friends at work increases people's satisfaction with their work by 50% and improves their performance by 7 times! Yes, yes, it turns out that it is not the financial issue that prevails in this case, but a good and eternal feeling. Many large companies consider warm friendships and spending time together between colleagues outside of the workplace an integral part of their corporate culture. For this purpose, trips to nature, trips to the theater, cinema, celebrations of birthdays and general holidays are organized, because a colleague is tested not only in business, but also in joint recreation! Moreover, many important work matters are resolved through abstract conversations outside the office walls.

But here you need to clearly understand: friendship and friendship are not the same thing. Friendly relationships at work are most likely more about friendship, common interests and a common cause. Such friendship is not burdensome and usually ends with a change of job. Another thing is true friendship, especially with childhood friends, time-tested and in all sorts of different life situations... For her, working together often becomes another test of strength, and the relationship does not always withstand it.

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There are not so many examples of true, unshakable friendship and successful working union, but they exist. Moreover, it very often turns out that friends in business and in personal life seemed to walk along the same road, without bumping elbows: in childhood they were neighbors, went to the same school, then almost at the same time started a family... If people, as they say, look at in one direction, common work or joint business will not interfere with their relationship, and friendship not only will not spoil the common cause, but, on the contrary, will support and strengthen it.

The founders of many famous companies, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, were good friends. But were all of them able to overcome the realities of life and make a choice in favor of friendship? Unfortunately no. The story of Apple Corporation CEO Steve Jobs, shown in the film Jobs: Empire of Seduction, is revealing, controversial and poignant. On the one hand, the hero is a brilliant inventor to whom people have always been drawn (in his small garage he gathers friends who are excited by his idea and work for it throughout their youth), and on the other hand, he is a person who does not need anyone, a self-centered type, As a result, he loses loyal friends and a loving woman, but becomes a billionaire. What is more important - feelings, ideas, money? Everyone chooses for themselves.

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Many people note that friendship ends when people have to choose who is in charge or share the profits. And these are the realities of life. Therefore, you should be internally prepared for the fact that you will have to choose: either friendship or work. The main thing is not to lose both.

As it usually happens, from the first grade we sat with Masha at the same desk, fell in love, quarreled and made peace, graduated from the same institute together and... decided to work together. If so, then believe me: friendship will have to go through fire, water and copper pipes. After all, someday you or your friend may get a promotion - and this is unlikely to be at the same time as first love. Here, not at all warm feelings can come into play: envy, jealousy, anger. It’s also good if the development of joint working relationships is built according to the “leader-follower” scheme. What if there are two leaders? In this race, most likely, everyone will strive to get ahead at all costs, and even worse, they will begin to put a spoke in the wheels of their ex-girlfriend...

What if one of you ended up in a leadership position, and the other became her subordinate? Even if outwardly everything seems to be smooth, it seems that everything is in its place and everyone is happy, it is worth considering that personal feelings tend to get the better of workers. A friend-subordinate can simply, sometimes without even wanting it, begin to take advantage of her position - the boss will turn a blind eye to her shortcomings and allow too much. It is clear that other employees will not like this. And the boss, in order to improve the working atmosphere, will have to constantly step over herself, because it is not so easy to differentiate her behavior from that of a friend and a subordinate in one person and not change the established principles. At work, there is no escape from a certain hierarchy and subordination.

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Friendship is constantly tested for strength, including work. Yes, being friends and working together is sometimes difficult. Sometimes friendships can end there. But no matter how the relationship develops, it is worth remembering: friendship is also the work of two people. Only one in which there is no place for orders, assignments, promotions and dismissals, but which simply needs to be treasured.


Support. Not all people find it easy to join an established team. And if you and a friend come to work in the same department, this will be a big plus for both of you, since you won’t feel like lone wolves or black sheep.

Constant communication. Tell me, how often, in the frantic rhythm and constant chain of work-life-family-children, do we manage to find an hour to communicate with friends? When working together, you certainly won’t have to complain about the lack of communication!

Mutual assistance. A friend can help in any situation. “cover up” in front of your superiors, replace you and, of course, take your side in a dispute or some difficult, heated situation.


Addiction. Sometimes excessive attachment to a person prevents us from developing as individuals. While one can actively move up the career ladder, the other often follows behind him, forgetting about his self-sufficiency and burying his talents in the ground.

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Leakage of working time. Very often, without noticing it ourselves, we can get so busy that debit and credit are not reconciled. Of course, “friendship is a 24/7 concept,” but sometimes it can play a cruel joke on you.

Inequality. When one becomes close to management or takes the place of the boss himself, and the other remains in the same position, friendly feelings are very difficult.

Yulia Giatsintova

Diversify your friendships

But it is quite possible to establish friendly connections with colleagues during non-working hours. You spend a lot of time with each other within established limits, now it’s time to invite your work colleagues to some fun event in an informal setting. During these informal meetings, turn your brain off from work and direct conversations in a more pleasant direction.

Show your interest

It's normal for you to become interested in having conversations with your colleagues. However, some conversations can be classified as gossip. Be careful, because by maintaining these types of conversations, it is so easy to make ill-wishers in your workplace. That is why it is very important to earn a reputation as a crystal clear person, and not as an office gossip.

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Be prepared for office disruptions

In life, we do not consider it something out of the ordinary to break up a relationship or end a friendship, even if it lasted for many years. Anything can happen among office friends, too. You must, above all, remain professional. Despite the fact that a “black cat has run” between you, always be polite and courteous to each other.

Moreover, do not have the habit of complaining about your ex-partner to other members of the organization, do not grumble over trifles and do not harbor anger. Your offense will soon be forgotten, but honest partnerships will remain. And even more so, don’t let pride make a drama out of the office. This way, you will avoid stress and save a lot of energy to achieve your creative goals.

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