Many people separate work life from personal life, and they should be separated in as far as you don't work during family dinners or gatherings, for instance. At work, we should be professional, and people have come to equate that to being somehow very stiff and guarded, not letting one's weaknesses and personal life be known by one's colleagues.
But times have changed and the office finds young people who're open to connecting. What more, there's hardly any loss in building strong relationships with your officemates. It doesn't lead you into working poorly or less efficiently or not meeting deadlines.
On the contrary, experts have found that having friends at work makes people happier, and that nothing, not even a big pay, can compare to the happiness a good bond brings. Having friends around in the office—or working with people who've come to be your friends—makes you feel less stressed. And on bad days, it makes stress more bearable.
Research also suggests that workplace friendships also affect our effectiveness. Since it makes the job feel more satisfying, you naturally perform better. You're more confident to share information and to give suggestions and constructive criticism. You also don't hesitate in helping one another out, which gets more things done (and gets things done right). What more, when it comes to decision making, those whose colleagues are also their friends outperform groups of acquaintances.
It's understandable that people get competitive, especially in a competitive environment like the office; people crab each other. But when you make your colleagues your friends (and you make yourself a friend to them too), you build trust and all of you just become more trusting. And as friends who respect each other as colleagues, you become committed to each other's success and growth. And isn't that beautiful?
So skip the small talk. Talk about your interests and other things that don't involve work. Remember that opening up is the only way people connect emotionally. You don't have to talk about your love life (please don't talk about your love life out of nowhere if they're not your friends yet), but the day may come that you will because your colleagues excitedly asked. (Yeeees naman, level up!!)
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