“Is it okay to socialize a lot with co-workers after work? What about during work hours?”
Good questions! I, personally, am not a big fan of happy hours with co-workers for two reasons:
In the office I am friendly with everyone, but I am not friends with anyone. Does it make sense? I believe that talking and joking (appropriately) with your co-workers creates a good office environment. Too much talking, however, might lead to gossiping. It also seems like a waste of time. Just my humble opinion. I try to talk about neutral, less personal stuff. It is safe that way.
My advice to you: always keep your personal life and your work life separate. But I am not going to lie and say that I have never made friends at work. I have two very good friends at work. But none of them are my co-workers. Both of them work in different departments, and we almost never have to work together on any projects.
Beware of one important thing. No matter how wonderful your organization seems, how friendly people look, most of the time your co-workers tend to watch each other. It is human nature. We all work in a competitive environment. I have an employee who loves to chat with his co-workers. He does it all the time. And people notice. I’ve been asked a few times if he doesn’t have enough to do because he seems to be walking around the building, visiting different offices and talking a lot. So, I had a friendly chat with him about his overly chatty behavior.
Make sure you know what self-image you want to project in the office, and make necessary adjustments. You’ll do just fine.
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