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Work BFFs: The Do's & Don'ts

Posted: 08/31/09 07:04 PM ET

A day at the office is so much more enjoyable when you have a work BFF to share your ups, downs, and blueberry muffin with. You can count on them to come to the rescue when your skirt is tucked into your stockings, or to be a sounding board for your latest big idea before you take it to the boss. They keep you sane when you're stressed and lend a sympathetic ear when you need it. But sometimes, even the best of office friendships can hurt your career if you don't handle them the right way. Follow these tips whether you're in or out of the cubicle.

DO: Know When to Work and When to Play
While it's tempting to gab about reality TV for hours on end, keep the non-work-related chitchat to a minimum during office hours. If your supervisor sees you two peas in a pod slacking off on a regular basis, he's going to think you don't take your job or your paycheck seriously.

DON'T: Be a Gossip
The office Gossip Girl is not a role you want to be known for. If it always looks like you and your cohorts are hunched over and whispering, people won't want to work with you (or invite you to happy hour!). Being in a "clique" is so middle school! And remember: Always steer clear of bathroom blab sessions. You never know who could walk out of the stall...

DO: Have a Lunch Bunch
Grabbing lunch or coffee is the perfect time to take a breather and freely catch up on all those things you shouldn't be talking about at work (i.e., The Bachelorette, Core Fusion classes, and your boyfriend's inability to unload a dishwasher). Plus, it's key to take several short breaks a day to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. You'll feel rejuvenated and ready to rock that meeting you've been dreading all day.

DON'T: Create Uncomfortable Situations
Knowing how to keep certain work-related occurrences separate from your friendship is key. You never want to put your friend in an awkward professional position. If she just had a meeting with the boss, it's none of your business to ask what it was about. Whether she got a promotion or a stern lecture, let her come to you if she wants to talk about it. Also, don't force her into finding out information for you from people she works closely with. And avoid comparing salaries and sharing negative opinions about co-workers that she may not know well. You don't want to put preconceived notions about others in her head, and vice versa.

DO: Be Team Players
Many businesses and corporations offer special programs just for employees. From lunchtime Pilates classes to charity walks and neighborhood volunteering, you'll be more inclined to sign up (and actually go!) if you have a buddy right there with you. While you and your stilettos would rather stay on the sidelines during company kickball, joining the team is just another excuse to go out for pizza and wings afterward. So take advantage of it!

 
 
 

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