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Do you feel that having a close-knit bond with coworkers keeps you focused, engaged, and productive? If so, then you are in good company. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to work in such suitable conditions. In a recent Robert Half International survey, 65 percent of employees and 57 percent of executives polled said that office productivity increases when colleagues are friendly. Through my relatives’ many years of experience and my research, two types of coworkers became clear to me.

The following are a few types of colleagues to make friends with and some to keep at distance. Being surrounded by affable and helpful associates can be a truly remarkable experience. Associating yourself with these types of work friends can make your job less stressful and beneficial. Just like ice cream comes in different flavors, there are three types of coworkers you want to work with – The Handy Helpers, The Caring Critics, and The Veterans. Sustaining a positive relationship with Handy Helper employees can be a true lifesaver when you are faced with challenges.

It is beneficial to have a trusted and reliable friend at work that you can lean on for support and assistance when you are overburdened. For instance, let’s say that you have an emergency and you cannot come to work. Alas, you need someone to cover your shift or otherwise you might get fired. In such episode, a Handy Helper is very useful. You can call him/her up and when you explain your situation there’s no doubt that your friend will not let you down because he/she knows that you would do the same.

Workers who have built bonds with their coworkers have no paucity of helping hands to call upon. Another character you would like to connect with is The Caring Critic. Having a work ally who can offer feedback and helpful criticism on your ideas or projects can be very invaluable. Let’s say that you have to impress your boss and you are unsure of your assignment. Receiving an honest opinion from someone who has your best interest at heart, and understands the mindset of your organization can really benefit you.

Your friend’s advice can help you polish up your work so you can make the biggest impact and the best impression. The third and final person you want to befriend at you workplace is The Veteran. Building a friendship with a successful and upbeat veteran is a smart move. Whenever you are in times of a crisis or uncertainty, having a person like The Veteran near you can really lift up your spirits. A time-tested and cool-headed professional who has been down this road before can impart wisdom, in addition to a sense of calm and perception.

My mother, who used to be a teacher, had a rough year when she first started working in her profession. She was willing to quit because she could not handle some of her rude and undisciplined students. Fortunately, her friend who has been teaching for the past 15 years convinced her not to resign and gave her tips on how to cope with all the mischievous kids. My mom is very thankful to her friend and she says that without her support she would have quit. The types of tenured workers like The Veterans can really help you sharpen new abilities and maintain a healthy, positive attitude.

Just as the upbeat attitude of a constant optimist will rub off, fraternizing with pejorative Party Poopers can influence your feelings about the job. Even if they are perfectly pleasant to you, be careful about aligning yourself with persistent whiners who constantly complain or dish dirt. It is extremely common that their negative aura will alter yours too. Therefore, it is dangerous to be in company with these workers because you might become just as pessimistic and lazy about your job as them.

Party Poopers may not be entirely trustworthy, and being friends with them could lead management to consider you a bad apple too. Finally, be on the lookout for The Favor Thieves. These coworkers never return the favor and they try to sabotage you in every possible way to their advantage. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “The only way to have a friend is to be one. ” It is a proverb one should seriously consider in the workplace. If you’re constantly pitching in for a so-called friend who never returns the favor, it is probably time to reconsider the relationship.

Avoiding association with favor thieves is just as important as not becoming one yourself. If a coworker assisted you in your hour of need, do not forget to give back, even if the person needs your help in an inopportune time. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive friends at work can help you be more productive and happier on the job. And while you may develop close bonds to certain individuals, remember to be nice and affable to all of your colleagues. You never know whose help you might need someday.

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