Building relationships in the workplace creates a great work environment. However, in building these relationships, there are certain things to be mindful of, such as the type of conversations you have with your colleagues. Everyone has different boundaries around certain conversations. And some of these conversations just don’t belong in the office.
Here are 5 conversations you should avoid having with your colleagues:
1 – Don’t have conversations about religion
Religion is a personal subject and one that tends to be extremely sensitive too. Steer clear of discussing your religious beliefs or giving your opinion on others’ religious beliefs or lack thereof. Discussing religion may offend your colleagues, whether they are religious or not. This does not mean you should hide your religion, but things can quickly get uncomfortable during these types of conversations, and assumptions can be made that may negatively affect your work relationships.
2 – Don’t engage in office gossip
Nothing is more toxic than office gossip. It has the potential to break relationships between co-workers and can easily have you at the centre of controversy. Engaging in office gossip is not professional conduct and will affect your work environment and how others treat you. As the saying goes, if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all. If you find yourself in the middle of office gossip, try to change the subject and steer the conversation to a positive aspect of what is being spoken about.
Also read: Why empathy in the workplace matters more than you think
3 – Steer clear of political discussions
While it is important to know what is happening regarding the political affairs of the country, topics about politics are not ideal for the office. This is an extremely sensitive and personal matter that may cause divisions between employees. With everyone having their own opinions about politics and how heated such conversations can get, it’s safer to steer clear of talking politics in the workplace.
4 – Don’t discuss your salary
While you may feel comfortable with and close to your co-workers, discussing your earnings can quickly change this. Talking about how much money you earn, or how little you feel you earn, can turn your professional relationships into rivalries. It can make others feel uncomfortable and it may place them in a tough spot, because employees earn different amounts. Sharing information about how much you earn, or asking others about their earnings, can create tensions and division at work.
5 – Avoid TMI-type conversations
Personal activities such as hobbies and sporting activities are okay to share with co-workers. However, sharing the details of your binge-drinking weekend or of your intimate relationships is a definite no-no. Not only does this create a perception about you in a professional space, but it also makes others feel uncomfortable. A good way to navigate this is by limiting the things you share to fun and relatable information about your life – leave out the TMI details!
Also read: Social skills tips for succeeding in the modern workplace.
Depending on the nature of your job, you may spend the majority of your time with your co-workers. It is only natural that you will make friends and build close relationships with them. It is important, however, to remember that the office is still a professional environment regardless of how close you are to your colleagues. Be mindful of the conversations you have and steer clear of sensitive topics like religion, politics, and money, and beware of over-sharing when it comes to your personal life. And beware of office gossip; it’s not a good look – ever!