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Business doesn’t often mix well with pleasure — but there’s an exception to every rule. While it’s true you should avoid office romances (unless it’s that Elizabeth Bennet/Mr. Darcy type of love), you shouldn’t avoid becoming friends with your co-workers. When you’re spending 40+ hours a week at the office, you need to have at least one co-worker that you consider an ally. By not forming friendships with your co-workers, you set yourself up for daily misery as you slave away at your desk — alone. As a human, it’s natural to want some companionship at work, even if it’s just the super friendly security guard at the front desk.
There are so many benefits to having friends at the office. Imagine how much better those no-good-everything-at-work-sucks days will be when you have some co-workers to distract you with lame jokes and coffee runs. Personally, I think it’s amazing. I love my job, but I love it even more knowing I’ll be surrounded by people I genuinely consider friends.
Other benefits include:
1. You’ll have someone to hang out with during meetings.
No one likes sitting through the super long quarterly meetings. However, they become infinitely more bearable when you’re sitting by your work bestie. You can jot down a comment to them if necessary and flash looks of boredom their way. Time flies when you’re suffering together.
2. Solo lunches will never be necessary.
Unless you just want to eat lunch alone, you don’t have to when you have friends at work. You’ll need a break from the work grind at least once during the week, and there’s nothing better than heading out to lunch with some co-workers. This gives you something to look forward to and an opportunity to know your co-workers outside of actual work. Therefore, you can become actual friends who send funny photos through Snapchat and Instagram DMs.
3. Being friends with co-workers gives you someone to complain to.
You shouldn’t dwell on negativity, but sometimes you need to vent to someone who understands the situation. Sure, you can vent to your other friends, significant other, or mom, but they might not really understand what you’re dealing with. A co-worker-friend does understand. You don’t have to provide back story or explain what you actually do at work because they already know. So instead of carrying around pent-up frustration all day long, you can quickly vent to a co-worker and move on with your day.
4. It breaks up the monotony of your daily work.
You can’t avoid your work in favor of goofing off with your office bestie, but having random (but brief) moments of fun can turn a boring day into a good one. The simplest things, like sending a funny article or hunting for office snacks together, make all of the difference. Work doesn’t seem so much like work when you have friends around. It feels more like you’re working on a fun project with your buddies.
5. Happy hour is way more fun.
It’s never as much fun to go to happy hour with co-workers you aren’t fully comfortable around. Going with those you consider actual friends though is the best. You can relax, talk about your lives outside of work, and not be stressed out if you’ve offended someone with an accidental (or not so accidental) swear word. Of course, you still have to be (semi)professional and polite, but you can actually enjoy yourself when you have your work besties by your side.
6. Collaborating on projects is less stiff and boring.
Obviously, work is work, and you have to act like a professional at the office — but you should also enjoy the time you spend on work projects. Anytime you’re working on something with a co-worker you don’t know or don’t like, it becomes unnecessarily laborious. Working on something with a co-worker-friend never feels that way. Even if the tasks are mundane or difficult, you’ll enjoy your time much more if you’re working with someone you enjoy being around.
7. Your work days will be filled with companionship and laughter.
Those little moments of joking and real-life discussion brighten up the normal 9-5. Simply walking to get a drink from the kitchen becomes a fun excursion for you and your work bestie. Even if you don’t socialize a ton each day, you’ll be more relaxed knowing you have a friend in the office if you need to vent, de-stress, or talk about a work hiccup.
8. You’ll never have to contribute to potlucks alone again.
Forget spending 20 bucks on ingredients for a casserole to bring to the office potluck. When you have friends at work, you can team up to split the cost and bring something delicious. You also won’t have to slave over it all by yourself the night before. You can whip it up together over a glass of wine. That’s called having fun and being functional.
There really aren’t any downsides to making friends with your co-workers. You can enjoy social moments in-between serious work, and it helps to build a solid network of professional people you trust. I mean, who doesn’t want to enjoy the company of people they spend 40 hours a week with?