Can working with friends work?

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These days it is common to find friends working together.  Whether you two work at the same company, or work at companies that work together, it is a scenario that occurs all the time.  But is it a good idea?  Maybe and maybe not – it all depends on the set of friends.  If you both can handle being professional at work, and leaving your personal friendship outside the office, it should be fine, and obviously fun.  You will always have someone you can trust to ask for advice, and someone to get lunch or coffee with.  On the other hand, if you are too close, other workers may get annoyed, and see you as unprofessional- you certainly don’t want your boss to think it was a bad idea to hire both of you. There is definitely a right way to handle working with your friends, and below are some tips for balancing your friendship and career:

  1. Stay professional.  Keep your personal life at home, and when you are at the office act like you are at the office. Some friends may choose to act like they don’t even know each other, but that is not necessary.  Your other co-workers should be aware that you two are friends; you just shouldn’t be constantly talking about the weekend or cracking inside jokes during meetings or on the sales floor.
  2. Stay independent.  Although you already have a friend at work, push yourself to make other friends and develop relationships with co-workers, just like you would have done if you didn’t have a built-in friend.  Invite others to join you two for lunch, and don’t always go by yourselves.  Also, make sure to form some of those other relationships on your own, and not always as a two-some.
  3. Stay friends.  Sometimes, in certain occupations, life at the office can get a little competitive.  Just as you should leave your personal life at home, leave your work life at the office.  Don’t let work arguments or a difference of opinion affect the friendship you have had; keep in mind that business is business.  Make a promise to each other to not talk about the office on your time off.