When starting at a new job, most of us instinctually create distance between our coworkers and ourselves so that no emotional connection is formed. The intention is to keep work stuff at work and home stuff at home. Nonetheless, relationships are bound to form at work. This could be in the form of a friendship, someone to go out with, or maybe something a little deeper. Speaking from personal experience, most of this is a pretty bad idea.
Here are some reasons why you should keep your work relationships and personal relationships separate:
1. Professionalism - or lack thereof.
Work is called work for a reason. Unfortunately, we don't go to work to socialize. We are there to work hard and earn a wage. In turn, we are expected to be professional. Customers don't want to see you socializing with your coworkers, but rather working with them to give the customer the best experience possible at your establishment. Personal relationships could impede on the customers experience, which could get you in trouble. Save those conversations for another time.
So you work with your boyfriend and he gets that huge promotion. You know...the promotion that you wanted. The one you've worked incredibly hard for. He may be ready to celebrate with you, but I can tell you this much...there won't be any celebrating on your end. Just resentment toward the guy at work who stole your promotion right out from under you.
Let's face it...there are a lot of "fake friends" out there. In many cases, these "friends" just want something from you. They may seem nice at first, but once you see them outside of the establishment, they could turn out to be someone totally different than the person you thought you were friends with. Watch out, it happens more often than you think.
4. Unclear Boundaries.
Having any sort of relationship with your coworkers could have unclear boundaries. Maybe it's okay to talk at work but they have no interest in talking to you outside of the building. Maybe they are fine with having you in their personal life, but the minute you tell someone else, they snap. Maybe they just don't know how to tell you their real feelings. It's a tricky path to walk down.
5. Misaligned Expectations.
People are very rarely on the same page, and this is especially true in people you work with. You may think you are the only one in the picture, and your expectation is for there to be no one else. Or, you could be one out of five others. This is why sharing expectations is key.
Let's face it, nothing is private in the work place. Tell one person and it spreads like wild fire. Additionally, if there is no healthy balance between work and personal relationships, it can do more harm than good.
Since there is no privacy in the work place, anything you say about another coworker turns to instant gossip and drama. No one wants that. Instead, try talking to friends that are outside of your work environment. You can still get everything off your chest, but no one at work will hear about it.
8. Awkward Situations.
Make one mistake with a coworker and BAM. Everything is awkward. Talking to them is awkward, seeing them is awkward, working with them is super awkward. And that's not gonna go away, trust me on this one.
Mixing work and personal adds a lot of unnecessary pressure on you as well as the other person. If your relationship is unhealthy, you may just want to stay in it because you work with them and don't to deal with the repercussions. Maybe that "friend" you have isn't treating you with respect, but you don't want to say anything because it could affect your work life. There is a very fine line, and you have to be careful not to cross it.
10. Emotionally Vulnerable.
In a relationship with someone you open yourself up to judgement, being liked, appreciated, trusted, but one bad run and all of this persons opinions of you can change. And that means all of the others around you will change, too. Remember when I said things spread like wildfire? They really do. If one person decides not to like you, the whole bunch could potentially follow in their footsteps. This could affect your emotional state severely if you let it.
11. Some Things are Just Meant to be Separate.
In life, some things are just meant to stay separate. If you find yourself questioning whether going out with a coworker to a party or on a date is a good idea, it's probably not. Work and personal are meant to be separate, and we should all do our best to keep it that way.