Work-Life Balance: How Much to Share About Your Personal Life

For many workers, a large amount of your waking hours is spent working. Whether you’re working one job full time or fill your schedule with various gigs, you might find yourself spending more time with your colleagues than your own family. It may be tempting to befriend your coworkers so work feels like a comfortable and welcoming place. But, it’s also important that you remember that your primary relationship with your coworkers is a professional one. Oversharing, or bringing too much of your personal life into your work life, can have negative consequences if you’re not careful.

Choose Your Deeper Relationships Wisely

In general, it’s advisable to have a good working relationship with your colleagues. Consider how deepening a work relationship could impact your work or the culture at your workplace. Sharing details about your personal life with a colleague or team member with an equal position is one thing. Oversharing with a manager or someone who looks to you for guidance is another.

You were hired for your job for your skills and expertise. Your personal life isn’t as restricted as your professional life, so you may say, do or try things that you wouldn’t want to talk about in the workplace. While you may be a fantastic worker, you wouldn’t want a manager, team mate, or direct report to think differently of you if you talk about how you spend your weekends. You don’t need to keep yourself from making any deeper relationships at work. But, you should be thoughtful in who you tell what stories to.

Personal Life Topics May Not Be Appropriate Discussion at Work

Outside of work, you may have personal opinions or hobbies that you feel passionate about. That’s great to talk about with friends and family, but it may not be appropriate to discuss at work. You shouldn’t be ashamed of your passions. But you should be mindful that your workplace is for work. Bringing up controversial or potentially disruptive conversations or topics could negatively impact your team’s feelings and efficiency.

For example, talking about a family activity or restaurant you ate at may be a simple enough conversation. But, bringing up politics or commentary on a controversial news event could cause a problem. You may not always be aware of your coworkers’ experiences and opinions, so try to steer clear of discussions that could insult or upset someone.

Being Genuine and Authentic When Building Relationships is Good

We gave you a lot to chew on when it comes to don’ts at the workplace. But to be clear: it is normal and healthy to have good relationships with people you work with. The most important thing to do is to keep your relationships balanced so you can enjoy a positive culture that isn’t distracting from your work.

The strongest work relationships can handle talking about personal life problems and issues. Just make sure you’re building that relationship over time and aren’t making quick assumptions that your team cares about your personal problems. You don’t have to hide everything going on in your life when you walk into your work place. It’s okay to admit if you didn’t get enough sleep or if a family issue is troubling you. But if you confide in people you’ve built a relationship with and they care about you, you can feel more confident that they’re listening because they care, you’re not burdening them, and the conversation won’t change the way you work together.

About the Author: Jesi Bolandrina is the Content Marketing Manager at Jobble. As a former gig worker, she knows how hard it can be to feel like you know what you’re doing in an ever-changing workforce. She’s your go-to for news and information from career development, to health and wellness, to finances and more. She curates Jobble’s blog, articles and is the editor of The Everyday Hustle newsletter. If you have any ideas for topics Jobble should cover, let her know.

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