Are Your Work Friends Using You?

BY Rachel Cagle
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Yesterday, we discussed how personal friendships can negatively impact your sales career. Today, we’re diving into work friends. You may not think that workplace friendships could drag down your career. However, it can be easy for toxic co-​workers to negatively impact you; possibly without you even noticing.

When Work Friends Bring You Down

Your Time

Time is one of the most valuable possessions everyone owns, especially if you’re in a sales career. Wasting time means landing fewer sales, which means not only is your paycheck slimmer, but you also look bad at work. That’s why one of the worst things work friends can do to you is take control of your calendar, says Ramin Assemi, writing for Close. They could think that, because you’re friends, you’ll drop everything to meet with them or help them out. But remember that your time is your own and your work and responsibilities come first. “Don’t be afraid to tell a colleague that you can’t meet right before a call,” says Assemi. Don’t bend over backwards to try to please others, even your friends.

Here’s another reason why you shouldn’t make work friends who try to control your calendar. Alex Noudelman, writing for Info Flo, points out that bad salespeople tend to refuse to admit when they’ve made a mistake. And not just to prospects. Maybe they had a seemingly for-​sure sale fall through. Then, in the meeting with your manager to discuss what went wrong, they blame you for not helping them. Someone toxic like this could try to shift the blame to you for defending your time. Don’t befriend someone who can’t admit when they’re wrong.


Your work friends who know you really well may try to make your day better by sending you messages to make you laugh. They may also send you videos about an interesting subject that has nothing to do with work. Or send you texts during a meeting complaining about how it’s taking so long or critiquing the speaker. Coming into your office to talk, at length, about their night last night could also be a regular occurrence. Are you seeing a trend here?

Even the best of work friends can be distracting. Their constant messages and office visits can stunt your workflow or get you chastised during a meeting for looking at your phone. Having to work late to get your work done can be a regular occurrence if you have this kind of work friend. No one wants to do that. Don’t be afraid to silence your notifications from them or tell them that you need to pay attention to your work if they get to be too much.


Do you have work friends who frequently come to you for help? While asking for help is normal and healthy, it can potentially be draining and time consuming if they do it too often. But sometimes, they aren’t asking for help. Sometimes, they’re just looking for you to do the work for them. The next time your work friend comes to you with a question, pay attention to what they’re really asking. Are they asking for an explanation so that they can learn and do it themselves next time? Or are they asking you to do something for them because they don’t understand how to do it? One of these requests is all about helping a friend, the other is exploiting you to do more work that you won’t get credit for. Recognize the difference and respond accordingly.

Photo: CoWomen