Day in and day out, you work with the same team of people in an office. You are bound to become friends (hopefully not enemies!) and share personal experiences and opinions. That said, there are some things that you should refrain from sharing in an office setting.
There’s an old adage that you should never talk about politics or religion with your family, and you should probably extend this to the office setting as well! Your political stance, opinions about hot button issues in the news, or your own personal religious judgments are things that you should keep to yourself in the office.
Of course, sharing your religion affiliation, “I am a practicing Christian,” or “I follow the teachings of Buddha” is completely acceptable. Going much deeper and sharing how your religious beliefs would interpret different situations at work? Not acceptable.
Remember that something that you consider very normal and a part of your day to day life might be something controversial or even hurtful to others – keep it to yourself.
We all have personal opinions and ideologies that help to guide our lives, but sharing them in the workplace is not appropriate. It is important to be respectful of all co-workers, and never make statements about their own personal lives.
“I like you, but I don’t approve of your sexuality/gender/religion” is absolutely inappropriate. So too is sharing anecdotes or stories about people that you know whose lifestyle you don’t agree with – you never know who else in your office shares that lifestyle.
Treat your colleagues with the same respect, privacy and common sense discretion that you too would like to be treated with – it’s just the decent thing to do. If you are confused about what is appropriate, speak with your human resources manager. Don’t have one, or own your own business? Seek guidance from outside experts.
We should all be free to be ourselves at work, but remember that you are in a professional place of business and you are not there to share all of the details of your life. Likewise, it is not acceptable or appropriate to share your opinions about others. Following this ‘golden rule’ will help everyone feel more comfortable and happy in the office.