A close friend at a workplace can make the day a lot shorter. Moreover, they can also give us the boost needed when there is a difficult project.
However, work friendships come with some inherent tensions. The unique part of these relationships is that we must balance the involuntary informality of friendship while being a formal transactional colleague.
The friendships among colleagues have to have boundaries for them to remain professional. When a friend from work starts going past these boundaries, it should be taken as a warning.
Here are five red flags that indicate that your work friendship may have become a toxic one.
1. Your Friend Wants You To Always Be On Their Side
Friendships need a bit of favoritism. However, this bias is unacceptable in the workplace. A proper friend will understand the need for maintaining professional boundaries.
A toxic one, on the other hand, may always expect you to take their side whenever there is a dispute. Or, they may want you to inform them of whatever insider information you get to know of in meetings. They might get hurt, as well, if you don’t do so.
According to studies, conflicting expectations account for one of the most common reasons behind the deterioration of work friendships.
2. You Risk Jeopardizing Your Job Should The Friendship End
If you are afraid of your friend at work because you know how badly they deal with their enemies, then it is a red herring that is a toxic relationship.
It is never healthy if you have to maintain a friendship because you are afraid of what might happen to you, or your position at your workplace. In fact, if you are in such a relationship and there is no way to offend such a person, then experts suggest finding a new workplace.
3. Your Friend At Work Betrays You
Mutual trust is the foundation of any proper friendship. However, for toxic friendships, there is a constant suspicion about the other person’s intentions.
Feeling betrayed happens to be one more of the top 5 most common reasons behind failing work friendships. Betrayals do not necessarily mean big consequential actions like trespassing or backstabbing.
It can be seemingly small dismissals and slights that build up over time. For example, they may have disclosed private information without your permission. Or, they may hide information that could have helped you do a better job.
4. You Tend To Become Rude/Gossipy In The Company Of This Friend
Your company at work paints a picture of what values you have as a person. As such, if you hang out with rude bullies at work then that is more likely to make you mean and uncivil as well.
You have no need to be friends with people who are influencing you into becoming someone worse. Ultimately, this can start damaging your reputation as well. Toxic dynamics at work can push one to say and act in ways that you wouldn’t have done if you were alone.
5. Being With Them Makes You More Ambivalent And Dreadful Than Excited
Knowing when to cut off friendships can be really tough unless something massively unjust happens. In work friendships that have unhealthy dynamics, people may have mixed feelings that cloud their judgment on when to end a friendship,
In such cases, it is suggested to observe your feelings when you hang out with them. If the interactions are tiring, instead of exciting or pleasant, then it is a good sign that the relationship is no longer beneficial. Seeking advice from a friend outside of work can help as well.
At the end of the day, listening to your gut is the most important. Also, most work friendships end when the job ends. So it is alright if you want to cut such a toxic relationship off.