Friendships with your co-workers are inevitable — and a great way to connect to your workplace — but it's important to set a few conversation boundaries. Avoid these four topics to maintain a sense of professionalism and keep your office relationships work-appropriate.
- Dollars and cents: It's no secret that salary talk should be avoided, but it's not just paychecks that ought to remain private. Debt, mortgage, and loans — yours or anyone else's — are a personal concern, and if money matters come up, the best thing to do is sidestep the subject and steer the conversation elsewhere.
- Office rumors: There will always be cubicle gossip, but that doesn't mean you need to participate. You want to be known for your work, not your rumor radar. Even if you trust a co-worker and your intentions are good, there's still a chance that you'll be misunderstood, overheard, or otherwise caught up in the drama. Use your wit to comment on last night's TV highlights instead.
Keep reading for more topics to avoid with co-workers.
- Job status: If your boss offers you a raise or a promotion, by all means, celebrate! Call your significant other, your family, or your friends, but don't bring it up to a co-worker unless asked directly. Wait until an announcement is made or until your title officially changes; raising the subject yourself might seem boastful or rude.
- Intimate issues: Of course you'll mention the happenings in your life to the people around you, but remember to set limits on what you reveal. Even if you feel close to your co-workers, they're still your co-workers, and some things simply shouldn't be shared with office-mates. The high points of your family holiday? Fair game. The nitty-gritty details of your personal relationships? Unnecessary. When in doubt, ask yourself if it's something you'd want your superiors to know. That will put things in perspective.
The bottom line: You will and should befriend the people who work alongside you, because getting along with co-workers can make your 9 to 5 pass in a snap. Just remember that those relationships are rooted in the workplace, so how and what you communicate can shape your business reputation.