If you’re like most people, you spend the majority of your waking hours at work. So, it makes sense you want to get along with your co-workers. You don’t have to be best buddies, but you don’t want to offend or alienate them, either. And you might be doing just that without knowing it. 

At some point, you may feel so comfortable around your colleagues that you forget about workplace etiquette. Just remember, having friends and confidants at work can make for a pleasant work environment, but unprofessional behavior can lead to the opposite. 

There are quite a few things you could say to lose a friend or tarnish your reputation. Here are four of them: 

But we’ve always done it this way.

Even if you’re right, avoid this phrase, especially if your boss is nearby. You’ll come across as being opposed or resistant to change, and you could be seen as an impediment to progress. The way your company did something in the past does not mean it was the best way. Keep an open mind and these types of comments to yourself. 

That’s not fair.

You’re at the workplace, not your grammar-school playground. You should have learned by now that life isn’t always fair and grumbling to your co-workers like this makes you seem immature. If, for instance, you’ve been given more work than some of the others on the team, it might be because someone above you thinks you can handle it. Do your best to show them they were right and set yourself apart. If there is an actual inequity in the workload, discuss it with your boss in private. 

I can’t stand the boss.

If you believe all your co-workers think the same way you do, you better be right! If you say this to one wrong person—and there usually is a “wrong person”—your career path could be strewn with obstacles from now on.  At the very least, you’ll be facing an awkward conversation with your boss, and your relationship may be damaged beyond repair. 

That’s not my job.

You might know better than to say this to your boss, but this remark to your co-workers tells them you aren’t a team player and maybe even a prima donna who is unwilling to do things that are “beneath” you. Instead of grousing about the annoyance of doing something that isn’t your responsibility, approach it as a chance to show your co-workers you are versatile and cooperative. 

Are you considering a change?

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