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I never thought I would say this, but I actually miss having co-workers.  Since leaving the a typical office environment, my days went from having lunch and drinks with my writing team to sitting in my house writing alone and staring at my dog.  Before the life of a solitude freelancer, I dreamed of not having to deal with co-workers and not being obligated to hang out with them at work functions or random happy  hours.  But now I miss the interaction.  Well just a little bit.

The majority of people in an office environment spend more hours with their co-workers than family members.  Office friendships are an important part of life that sometimes spill over into private lives outside of normal working hours. But there there are both positive and negative aspects to socializing with co-workers both at work and after office hours.

At a previous job, my coworkers for consisted of 6 women from the ages of 33-65. Although we were at different stages in our lives, we were still able to relate to each other and always shared stories and advice. We did the occasional happy hour or dinner, which helped us to stay close.  But there were times when we wanted to ring each other’s neck. Although it’s been almost a year since we’ve all worked together I still keep in touch with a couple of them and we’re still a part of each other’s support system.

Other benefits to socializing with co-workers include:

  • Everyone needs a support system at work when shit hits the fan and becomes stressful. I mean, who else are you going to complain about your crappy company to?
  • There’s no “I” in team.  Strong teamwork with co-workers typically makes the day run smoother.  The camaraderie that is formed after hours can easily translate into teams that function better before 5 pm.
  • Once the work day is done, being able to let your hair down after work gives you a chance to learn a co-worker’s personality and can help you understand how to deal with the person better.
  • There were times when I was labeled the curmudgeon of the office when I avoided after work functions at all costs. But eventually I learned that in order not to be perceived as the “snobby” one, occasionally you have to go with the flow and chill with the co-workers.

But of course, with every pro there’s a con.  Sure hanging out with co-workers can be fun, but occasionally it can all go downhill.  Sometimes there’s that one bad apple that ruins the bunch.  I’m sure everyone has experienced that co-worker that tries to rain on everyone’s parade, either with jealousy or being conniving. This type of co-worker can bring even more he-said-she-said to the afterwork crowd, so it’s best to either avoid socializing with this person after work, or keep them within arms distance.

Here are a few dangers in becoming too involved in the lives of your co-workers:

  • You may occasionally run into that jealous type of co-worker.  You know the one who’s upset that you’re spending too much happy hour time with Sharon, and leaving them behind.·
  • If you’re hanging out with the “boss” after hours, some may think you’re just being a brown-noser.
  • But what happens when you become the boss? It may be awkward hanging out with your former co-workers when they’re your subordinates. 
  • What happens after work, stays after work. No one wants to be “that” co-worker who can’t maintain their composure after hours and becomes the talk of the office.
  • Then there’s the issue of gossip.  Whether you’re a man or woman, everyone is susceptible to it, especially if you happen to send a lot of time with your co-workers after work.

There’s nothing wrong with forming friendships and socializing with co-workers after hours, but in order to keep the drama away,  keep it professional.

 

Clutchettes, do you socialize with co-workers after hours? Have you ever had any bad experiences?

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  • SE

    When I worked in an office environment, I hung out with some of my co-workers. I didn’t have a problem with it. That’s how I made friends, especially when I worked out of state and didn’t know anybody. But now I work from home so I just hangout with family or close friends.

  • K

    i think it really depends on the office environment. when i was doing office assistant work, i was in a white neighborhood, huge office building about 20 floors. Well somehow all the black people men and women from about 5 consecutive floors, had formed a little clique. they went to happy hour, invited each other to birthdays and this clique even including the black delivery men from fed ex and ups who were the buldings “regular” delivery men. I ended up becoming a part and stayed in touch with them years after i left that job. they werent coworkers but they sure all found each other for a co worker like environment. i also found it odd it was those specific floors. there were black people on other floors but they werent apart of the crew. I never did find out why.

    another job was in radio. we hung out after hours sometimes but then again i may just be confusing thing b/c as a form of entertainment there were so many promotions and events to go to a lot of time were chilling and drinking but some of us were on the clock (promotions team, DJ’s) the rest of us just went to chill but we all hung

    my job now…i wouldnt hang out with these people if you paid me. i HATE even going to the work functions after work hours and i only do so because i was evaluated as not i guess bonding with my coworkers, but our jobs are mainly solitary, some areas may have a team of 4 (so they obvi are closer) and some are a team of 1 like me. but the times we havent gotten together its just no one peaked my interest. I take one for the team and go to these functions so i will be seen as a team player. i couldnt possibly care less.

  • Rochelle

    I would never hang out after work with any co workers. Work is to make money not for friends. Besides, all your co workers want to do it get into your business. Best to keep it cordial and keep it moving.

  • Chelle

    My current job is in an office setting and the only coworker (my work spouse) that I hung out with after work relocated to a different state. I talk to my coworkers about harmless things but none of them are close to me like my work spouse was. *sigh*

  • Jake Eagleshield

    The answer is a resounding NO! I do not and will not socialize with people I work with.All of my co workers knew this from day one. I will be a good co worker. Friendly,cooperative,I have their back at work,but once the doors close,and I am on my way home,I don’t know them,and I consider myself unemployed until it is time to go back the next work day. Nothing personal,I just don.t think it mixes well. Start spending time with co workers,going to their home,them coming to yours,going out after work,and after a time they think they have the right to stick their noses into your home life. Unless it is a dire emergency,my family does not call me at work,unless I am at lunch,or on a break. I NEVER bring my work home,and I NEVER bring my home life to work. Some have accused me of being unfriendly. Not true. I am friendly with them at work. I see them for up to twelve hours a day. That’s enough,thank you.It took some time,but after some time my co workers now do not ask me to go out after work. At least on the surface,they seem to be okay with that. What they say behind my back,I do not know,nor do I care.