11 Tips for Working With a Friend

Few things can make the soul-crushing effort of a protracted, tiresome job search worthwhile. But, they do exist: Getting a job offer (finally)? Awesome. It’s awesome to receive a job offer from a promising young startup. Could it get any more awesome than getting a job offer at a young, promising startup run by one of your closest friends?

I’ve done it, and I can assure you that it is the best in many ways. But I’ll warn you, it won’t be all fun and games working for your friend. Even if you have remained friends since middle school, when you turn that friendship into a manager-employee relationship, the dynamics will change. There are many things to think about before you agree to work with your friend an additional 40+ hours per week.

3 Rules for Doing Business with Friends and Family

Why might you want to work with friends?

There are numerous benefits to working with friends. Perhaps a friend of yours works for a company that you both really want to work for. If you are close with someone, you might want to visit them at work. Maybe your friend has a connection that will help you get to work quickly, or vice versa. Maybe there is a job opening at your company that your friend would be fantastic at. Working with friends can be fun and challenging for a variety of reasons.

11 tips for working with friends

Here are some suggestions for improving the enjoyment of working with friends:

Remember that youre friends

Due to competition or other work-related problems, working together may cause your friendship to have problems. This is fairly common, and one way to keep your friendship strong is to always remember that your relationship is first and foremost one of friendship. Remembering that you are friends when you feel competitive or frustrated over work problems can help prevent a problem from escalating. It’s likely that you don’t want what happens at work to hurt your friendship.

Understand work personas

People frequently behave differently at work than they do at home. When you spend time with your friend outside of work, you might notice that they behave differently than they do when you are both at work. You may also find thats true for yourself. This doesn’t imply that you two aren’t close or that you can’t maintain a friendship outside of the office. It simply means that you both want to act in a particular manner at work to highlight your professionalism or leadership.

Because your friend probably has a reason for acting a certain way at work, it is best to refrain from pressuring them to behave that way when they are not at work. Similarly, if they don’t understand why you behave a certain way at work, it might be helpful to explain your actions and reassure them that you’ll continue to be yourself outside of work.

Prepare for the fact that hiring and firing power can be complicated

It can be difficult to maintain a friendship if you and your friend report to the same boss. Generally speaking, it might be best to avoid reporting to friends, especially if they are close friends That doesn’t mean you and your manager can’t be friends or that you both can’t be fair in that kind of circumstance. It simply means that everyone involved may find it difficult to report to a friend. It might be challenging for the manager to reprimand their friend or it might give the impression that there is possible favoritism to other employees.

If you find yourself in this situation, it might be more work to maintain professionalism and prevent resentment. You might discover it doesn’t work for you, or you might discover it’s fine and doesn’t interfere with your friendship or your job. Whatever you learn, it’s best to be ready for potential complications.

Remember to appreciate each other

You might find that you always turn to your friend in times of need or that you ask your friend to take care of tasks that you don’t feel comfortable asking others to do. Additionally, you might discover that your time spent together after work feels less significant or special after spending your days working together. In any case, it’s critical that you never forget to show each other appreciation, whether it be during or after work. You can keep your friendship and professionalism by making an effort to let them know you care.

Communicate well

Communication is one of the most crucial aspects of working with a friend. You probably want to discuss how that will work before you work together and throughout the process if you want to keep your friendship and professional relationship intact. If necessary, discuss your concerns with your friend’s actions at work during working hours. It would probably be best to discuss any more personal issues involving your friendship outside of the workplace. In either case, communication is crucial to preserving a good working and personal relationship.

Celebrate their achievements

It may be tempting to compare your professional accomplishments to those of your coworkers, but doing so can lead to jealousy issues, especially if you both start at the same level and one of you gets promoted. It’s acceptable to feel competitive with your friend as long as you use it to further your own goals rather than to harbor bad feelings for them. Both your friendship and your professional relationship can be harmed by comparing the two of you or feeling jealous of your friends’ accomplishments. Instead, concentrate on recognizing your friends’ accomplishments and achieving your own goals.

Maintain professionalism at work

It can be difficult to treat your friend differently at work than you do in your personal interactions, but it may be necessary to uphold both sides of your relationship. Maintaining your professionalism at work can help you distinguish between your professional and personal relationships and improve how other people perceive you in your organization. If you always act professionally, even around your friends, you’ll demonstrate to your coworkers and managers that you know how to act in that situation.

Work with people you can spend a lot of time with

Unless you live with your friends, you don’t typically spend 40 hours a week with them, so switching from a casual friendship to one where you work together can significantly increase the amount of time you spend together. There can be a lot more togetherness than you’re used to, even if you only work part-time. For this reason, it’s best to make sure that your coworker is someone you can spend a lot of time with if you’re working together.

Not everyone fits that description, so it’s wise to assess whether you and a friend are compatible enough to work together for an extended period of time before accepting a position with them or encouraging them to join your company. Additionally, you can determine how much interaction there is between the two of you in your current positions. It feels different than if you sit next to each other all day and carry out similar tasks if your friend works in a different department and you only get to see each other during breaks.

Create rules for working together

Before beginning a project with a friend, you should probably talk about how it will go. For instance, you might ask your friend to refrain from bringing up certain aspects of your personal life at work if you don’t want to share them with your coworkers. You don’t need a lot of rules, but think about the aspects of your collaboration that could cause problems for your friendship or your careers, and talk about how you intend to address these concerns.

Additionally, rules and structure are unquestionably necessary if you and a friend are starting a business. This can involve establishing protocols for the company, having contracts that specify ownership and responsibilities, and deciding how you’ll make business decisions. Although it may seem simpler to rely on your friend, planning ahead and putting your plans in writing will make things go much more smoothly.

Understand different working styles

Working with friends can be difficult because your two working styles are different. Maybe you enjoy stopping to chat while working hard, whereas your friend detests interruptions and distractions during the workday. You might want to talk about working styles with your friend so that you are certain you understand how they prefer to work because there is a wide variety in how people prefer to work. Maintaining both your friendship and your working relationship can be facilitated by accommodating one another’s working styles.

Grow other work friendships

Working with a friend could have some drawbacks, such as preventing you from socializing with other coworkers who you could potentially become friends with. This might cause your coworkers to think poorly of you or isolate you and your friend. This can be particularly difficult if one of you is a manager and the other isn’t because it may give the appearance of favoritism. However, if you develop additional professional and social networks, your team will have a chance to get to know you and will be less likely to interpret your actions negatively.


Is it good idea to work with friends?

According to research, having friends at work can boost performance, satisfaction, and productivity. However, you might want to refrain from getting too close to your coworkers. You don’t have to be best friends, according to workplace expert and industrial-organizational psychologist Amy Cooper Hakim.

How do you deal with working with friends?

11 tips for working with friends
  1. Remember that you’re friends. …
  2. Understand work personas. …
  3. Be aware that hiring and firing decisions can be challenging.
  4. Remember to appreciate each other. …
  5. Communicate well. …
  6. Celebrate their achievements. …
  7. Maintain professionalism at work. …
  8. Work with people you can be with for a long time.

Why is working with friends better?

Work friendships increase job satisfaction. According to a Gallup survey from 2018, people who have a best friend at work are twice as likely to be engaged in their work, perform better at interacting with customers, produce higher-quality work, feel better overall, and are less likely to suffer an occupational injury.

Is it smart to work with friends?

Your shared job may be able to strengthen your relationship if you get along well. It might reveal a new aspect of you both that meshes really well. You might discover new things about each other and yourself. Additionally, it might just be pleasant to spend so much more time together, even if it means putting work first.

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