Do You Have to be Friends With Your Coworkers?

What's the most stressful thing about working in an office? For most of us it's not actually the impending deadlines or the restructure or the mean boss – but instead it's the coworkers who just make life much more difficult than it really should be.

For many of us working in an office is like living a soap opera as we're constantly forced to deal with bickering colleagues, office romances and bosses who have favorites. Then there are those passive aggressive e-mails that leave you up worrying all night…

'Jane from accounting only said 'best' and not 'best wishes'… she hates me!'

All this just makes work that much more upsetting and stressful and the result is constant misery.

But here's the thing: you don't have to get on with your colleagues. You certainly don't have to be bosom buddies. And in fact you don't really need to care what they say, think or do at all.

Why Your Colleagues Don't Matter

Most of us have friends outside of work. Perhaps you're still friends with your school mates, maybe you get on well with your partner's friends or perhaps you like your family. Or maybe you're completely unsocial and you don't really like spending time with people anyway.

Point is: that as long as you have a happy home life there's really no reason to make friends at work as well. Who cares if Bob from HR thinks you're a jackass – as long as you've still got your best mate from home that's not really an issue, is it?

In Fact it's a Good Thing

And in fact it's a good thing if you aren't friends with your colleagues. Think about it: would you want to work with most of your existing friends? For most of us the answer is no – it would be too distracting and it would be awkward if ever we got into any kind of dispute. Much better then would be to just be generally disinterested in your colleagues so that you can shout at them when you have to and ignore them the rest of the time.

Better yet, if you don't have friends at work then you won't get into as many petty office squabbles.

The thing to bear in mind here is that if you engage with any gossip or any potshots being taken then you will find that they eventually end up coming back to bite you. If you join in in the moaning about 'that cow from upstairs' then this will get back to the cow upstairs and they'll be more likely to spread rumors or just generally complain about you.

But if you're friends with your colleagues then you can't avoid getting involved in these debates. That's because you have to stand up for your friends (apparently) and they'll want to talk to you…

 So easier to just wash your hands of the whole thing. Be polite, cordial, quiet… then pack up your things and go home. Your life just got 100% easier.