Science can’t stop talking about it: friends at work make you more productive and better at work, make you feel less lonely and want to keep your job longer. But while they make you happy, they can also work against you.
We tell you everything you need to know to spot those toxic friends at work.
This is how you recognize toxic friends at work
They influence each other’s moods negatively
It is generally said that people who are with good friends at work are more likely to be in a good mood, but that is not true in all cases. If you or your work-bestie don’t like the job, it can quickly spread to the other person, for example.
If you have just started working and are then reminded that you are pretty undervalued within the company, that is not necessarily beneficial. This also makes your mood worse, and you end up in a negative spiral together.
Always jealous of you
Although jealousy varies from person to person, there is a higher chance that you will become jealous of those close to you. Certainly if you and your colleague have the same kind of position, it can be experienced as unfair if one of the two, for example, is offered a promotion and the other is not.
The stress that such a situation causes can have a negative influence on your work. And honestly, who wants to be friends with someone who doesn’t even congratulate you on a promotion? Friends should recognize your successes, not make them smaller than they are.
He often ‘teases’ you
Humour is fantastic, and having fun with your colleagues makes your day a lot better. But when you’re chatting with your friends at work and someone, just as your manager walks by, grins, “Haha, does your alarm clockwork?” Meh, then we’re not sure if it still falls under teasing.
In any case, it is never a good sign if someone subtly embarrasses you, whether that be in front of your manager or other colleagues. It could be jealousy or just, you know, being a jerk.
Gossip a lot
Gossiping is good for us in moderation, of course. It would provide for self-reflection, and besides, you sometimes need your complaining minutes to blow off steam and start again with a clean slate.
However, gossip can also have adverse effects. An unfavourable evaluation of other colleagues ensures that you become less motivated. If you constantly do it with your work BFF, you also have the same chance of a negative spiral (there it is again!). “Ugh, he’s made another mistake” quickly becomes “people can’t do anything, I don’t want to work here anymore”.
In addition, gossip makes the work environment unsafe for the person behind whose back you talk. Not quite what you want on your conscience, and certainly not the intention.
Your work-bestie involves you in conflict
Gossiping together is one thing, but it’s possibly even worse when you get involved in things you had absolutely nothing to do with in the first place.
Suppose your work BFF is discussing with another co-worker who you also like. If one of them – let alone both – expects you to take it aside, it is a sign that you need to step back not only for your professionalism and relationships with others but also for your peace of mind.
So yes, friendships at work can make your 9-to-5 job a lot less boring – but take a critical look now and then to see if they’re working against you.