Should You Be Friends with HR?

friendship with hr in the workplace
HR professionals can be good and supportive coworkers. But, does being friends with HR a bad thing? Read more to find out.

Some people believe that it’s best to come to the office, do their best, and go home. But others believe that it’s good to have friends at work (including being friends with HR). Which side are you on?

Let’s dig into reality one by one. It’s not wrong to choose not to have any friends at work. However, it’s best to at least have lunch together, converse with some of them, or go for a drink after work, so you get more information about what happens in the office and share some ideas.

Now, for those who agree on having friends at work. A study by Gallup found a connection between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees spend in their job. People who have a best friend at work perform better and happier compared to lonelier employees.

So, it’s good to have friends at work, but according to many articles that I read, you should draw a line between being friendly and befriending your HR personnel.

But, the HR personnel in my company are so friendly! It feels good talking to them. And they’re here to help and keep employees happy, right?

Not exactly. Just because HR professionals handle all your needs (onboarding, company benefits, sick leave, payroll), it doesn’t mean that they’re your friends. 

HR professionals are passionate about people and mostly friendly. They’re responsible for the happiness of the employees and overall workplace culture. But since they’re working for the company, their main priority is to protect the company. 

It’d be best if you understood that HR professionals are friendly, but they can never really be your friends because:

They avoid emotionally close relationships

There are many layers of friendship. For example, friends you share light stories with, friends you hang out with, and friends you invite to your wedding.

HR personnel falls under the category of the first layer — those with whom you share light stories. They’d appreciate it if you didn’t share too many details about your life because they don’t want to be emotionally close with you due to the nature of their job.

What’s the job of HR again? To protect the business and keep employees happy. In order to do that, they can’t be close with other employees to avoid being biased and attracting unpleasant gossip.

For example, you get a promotion because your performance is great and you achieve all targets. Some people could gossip that you’re promoted because you’re close with one HR personnel.

Or when there’s a dispute between you and another employee. It doesn’t matter if the other employee is wrong. Others who don’t know the whole story may think you’re justified because of your friendship with HR. This issue will disrupt the harmony in the workplace and is a threat to the company.

They don’t want to be stuck in between

hr personnel stuck in the middle of fighting

A reader of who works as an HR shares her story. She’s in an uncomfortable position due to her friendship with two employees. One day, she had a feedback session with a manager who managed her friends.

This manager was unhappy with her team calling in sick on busy days and decided to rearrange the team’s schedules. As an HR professional, she must not share the news with her friends. It will make her feel uncomfortable every time she talks to them because she knows something will come up and her poor friends know nothing.

They want everyone to trust them

Taking the example about friendship with HR as above, how would you feel if you found out that your HR friend had been keeping the information from you? Sure, you can be an understanding friend because that’s her job to keep it confidential. But I’m sure you’ll feel a little bit disappointed.

Or, if you’re the manager, how would you feel? Should you know that the HR personnel is a friend to your subordinates, would you come to her for the feedback session? Would you doubt her integrity as an HR professional to trust her with the information?

This is another reason you shouldn’t be friends, or should I say, close friends with HR. People want employees to trust that they’re doing their job with integrity and fairness.

You should solve issues with respective people first

Although HR professionals exist to support employees and create a healthy environment at the workplace, you should solve any problem with respective people first. You may rant to your friends about the problems you face at work, but in some cases, HR shouldn’t be your first option.

For example, if you’re unhappy with the performance of your subordinate or want to know how to advance your career, it’s better and will be more effective if you discuss it with the respective people.

Some examples of issues you can bring straight to HR are stealing, sexual harassment and problems that aren’t solved after discussing them with particular people.

They’re not supporting you 100%

a blocking towards an employee success in a fight

Another reason you shouldn’t be friends with HR is that they cannot support you 100%. 

Any issue you brought up to HR may have an outcome that you’re not satisfied with. HR works for the company and sees things from many angles — the reporter, the one reported and the company. 

They have to find a way to solve complicated issues while sometimes facing structural constraints in representing employees. So, it’d be best if you remind yourself the main priority of HR professionals are to represent the interest of the company that employs them.

If you find that your issues aren’t addressed after reporting it to HR and feel unhappy with the outcome, rather than blaming it on or resenting HR, perhaps it’s better for you to find a new job. Who knows that the incident is directing you to a new career path, an organisation where you’ll be happier working.

In short

HR are human beings. They’re friendly and helpful but being friends with employees puts them in a tricky situation. Therefore, you shouldn’t ask for more when they’re friends with you. Keep your relationship with HR as a friendly professional, but never as friends.

More To Explore

Man dealing with impostor syndrome at work.
Human Resources

How to Deal with Impostor Syndrome at Work

There are many types of people. Some people blow their own trumpets loud, although, in reality, they’re not as great as they think they are. There are some people with real, amazing skills who doubt their value. Have you ever felt your achievements are due to luck? Or are you not doing as well as

The money shown is too little to survive. To survive in the current economy, you'll have to learn ways to earn passive income
Human Resources

7 Ways to Earn Passive Income Without Quitting Your Job

News of recession starts looming closer and closer as we reach the second half of the year. With our inflation rate reaching 3.4% in June, even in a kampung or a small township, the cost of living has increased tenfold compared to what it was just five years ago. Food prices have increased so rapidly

They are a prime example of how to lead a sales team effectively
Company News

How to Lead a Successful Sales Team Effectively

Sales isn’t an easy job. I’ve been there. During semester breaks, I was a part-time salesgirl at various shops in a shopping mall. I took a telesales job soon after graduating (which I miraculously survived for a year). Working in the sales department was challenging. I was constantly anxious if I’ll get a deal or

Scroll to Top
[wpforms id="15980"]
<div class="wpforms-container wpforms-container-full wpforms-form-abandonment" id="wpforms-15980"><form id="wpforms-form-15980" class="wpforms-validate wpforms-form wpforms-ajax-form" data-formid="15980" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data" action="/should-you-be-friends-with-hr/" data-token="8626c0b2b723f967d3e8b504d46f1f8b"><noscript class="wpforms-error-noscript">Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.</noscript><div class="wpforms-page-indicator progress" data-indicator="progress" data-indicator-color="#9f45ff" data-scroll="1"><span class="wpforms-page-indicator-page-title" ></span><span class="wpforms-page-indicator-page-title-sep" style="display:none;"> - </span><span class="wpforms-page-indicator-steps">Step <span class="wpforms-page-indicator-steps-current">1</span> of 4</span><div class="wpforms-page-indicator-page-progress-wrap"><div class="wpforms-page-indicator-page-progress" style="width:25%;background-color:#9f45ff"></div></div></div><div class="wpforms-field-container"><div class="wpforms-page wpforms-page-1 "><div id="wpforms-15980-field_12-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-pagebreak" data-field-id="12"></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_16-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-divider" data-field-id="16"><h3 id="wpforms-15980-field_16" name="wpforms[fields][16]">Company Details</h3></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_3-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-text" data-field-id="3"><label class="wpforms-field-label" for="wpforms-15980-field_3">Company Name <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><input type="text" id="wpforms-15980-field_3" class="wpforms-field-medium wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][3]" required></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_5-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-number" data-field-id="5"><label class="wpforms-field-label" for="wpforms-15980-field_5">Number of employees <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><input type="number" pattern="\d*" id="wpforms-15980-field_5" class="wpforms-field-medium wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][5]" required></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_14-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-pagebreak" data-field-id="14"><div class="wpforms-clear wpforms-pagebreak-left"><button class="wpforms-page-button wpforms-page-next" data-action="next" data-page="1" data-formid="15980" disabled>Next</button></div></div></div><div class="wpforms-page wpforms-page-2 " style="display:none;"><div id="wpforms-15980-field_6-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-divider" data-field-id="6"><h3 id="wpforms-15980-field_6" name="wpforms[fields][6]">Contact Person</h3></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_0-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-name" data-field-id="0"><label class="wpforms-field-label" for="wpforms-15980-field_0">Name <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><div class="wpforms-field-row wpforms-field-medium"><div class="wpforms-field-row-block wpforms-first wpforms-one-half"><input type="text" id="wpforms-15980-field_0" class="wpforms-field-name-first wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][0][first]" required><label for="wpforms-15980-field_0" class="wpforms-field-sublabel after ">First</label></div><div class="wpforms-field-row-block wpforms-one-half"><input type="text" id="wpforms-15980-field_0-last" class="wpforms-field-name-last wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][0][last]" required><label for="wpforms-15980-field_0-last" class="wpforms-field-sublabel after ">Last</label></div></div></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_7-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-text" data-field-id="7"><label class="wpforms-field-label" for="wpforms-15980-field_7">Job Title <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><input type="text" id="wpforms-15980-field_7" class="wpforms-field-medium wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][7]" required></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_9-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-phone" data-field-id="9"><label class="wpforms-field-label" for="wpforms-15980-field_9">Phone number <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><input type="tel" id="wpforms-15980-field_9" class="wpforms-field-medium wpforms-field-required wpforms-smart-phone-field" data-rule-smart-phone-field="true" name="wpforms[fields][9]" required></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_1-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-email" data-field-id="1"><label class="wpforms-field-label" for="wpforms-15980-field_1">Email <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><input type="email" id="wpforms-15980-field_1" class="wpforms-field-medium wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][1]" required></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_15-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-pagebreak" data-field-id="15"><div class="wpforms-clear wpforms-pagebreak-left"><button class="wpforms-page-button wpforms-page-next" data-action="next" data-page="2" data-formid="15980" disabled>Next</button></div></div></div><div class="wpforms-page wpforms-page-3 " style="display:none;"><div id="wpforms-15980-field_10-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-gdpr-checkbox" data-field-id="10"><label class="wpforms-field-label wpforms-label-hide" for="wpforms-15980-field_10">Agreement <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><ul id="wpforms-15980-field_10" class="wpforms-field-required"><li class="choice-1"><input type="checkbox" id="wpforms-15980-field_10_1" name="wpforms[fields][10][]" value="By submitting your registration request, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy." required ><label class="wpforms-field-label-inline" for="wpforms-15980-field_10_1">By submitting your registration request, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label></li></ul></div><div id="wpforms-15980-field_11-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-pagebreak" data-field-id="11"><div class="wpforms-clear wpforms-pagebreak-left"><button class="wpforms-page-button wpforms-page-next" data-action="next" data-page="3" data-formid="15980" disabled>Next</button></div></div></div><div class="wpforms-page wpforms-page-4 last " style="display:none;"><div id="wpforms-15980-field_13-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-pagebreak" data-field-id="13"><div class="wpforms-clear wpforms-pagebreak-left"></div></div></div></div><div class="wpforms-submit-container" style="display:none;"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[id]" value="15980"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[author]" value="7"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[post_id]" value="6832"><button type="submit" name="wpforms[submit]" id="wpforms-submit-15980" class="wpforms-submit" data-alt-text="Sending..." data-submit-text="Submit" aria-live="assertive" value="wpforms-submit">Submit</button><img src="" class="wpforms-submit-spinner" style="display: none;" width="26" height="26" alt=""></div></form></div> <!-- .wpforms-container -->