Befriending people you work with can be a great way to form lasting friendships. You already have your workplace as a common denominator, so you’re bound to find more shared interests. It can be helpful to have friends that understand aspects of your personal and professional lives, but it can also be tricky. Whether you eat lunch with your colleagues, get drinks at happy hour after work, or spend time with them on the weekends, here are some suggestions for balancing your workplace friendships.

  1. Don’t let your friendship get in the way of your work: Having friends at work can make the day go by quicker, but make sure you’re not doing too much socializing and not enough working.
  2. Don’t let work damper your friendships: On the other hand, certain work-related situations can be tough on friendships. Maybe your friend decided to take a job with another company so you’ll no longer see them on a daily basis, or you received a promotion. In these instances, it can be helpful to remember that there is a division between your personal and professional lives. Changes in work dynamics shouldn’t have too great an impact on your personal relationships.
  3. Have balanced conversations: Since work generally takes up the bulk of our time, it’s natural to talk about it even when we’re not in the office. It’s necessary, however, to give yourself a break—you want to avoid being all work, all the time.
  4. Be careful not to gossip: Sure, you’ll talk about work when you’re with colleagues and not in the office, but remember to remain professional when talking about work.
  5. The last thing you want is to spread information and/or rumors about colleagues; this will reflect poorly on you.
  6. Be inclusive with work and non-work friends: When you’re in the company of people who you work with and those who don’t work at the same firm as you, it’s important to be mindful of this. Non-work friends might be interested to hear how your presentation on Tuesday went, but discussing it in great detail or using workplace jargon could quickly lose their interest.

It’s perfectly fine for friendships to sprout from the workplace, and with a bit of awareness about your conversations and surrounding company, your workplace friendships should be quite manageable—both in and out of the office.