• Keeping Friends

Living and working with a friend: Too much of a good thing?

Published: November 18, 2016 | Last Updated: November 18, 2016 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
A young woman living and working with a friend feels guilty about setting boundaries.


Dear Friendship Doctor:

I recently moved in with a very good friend of mine. Last year I recommended her for a job located in the same building that I work in. We have different employers but we see each other all the time.

Now we both have part-time jobs and she also wants me to recommend her for the place where I work part time. Don’t get me wrong. I love her to death, just not for all facets of my life! Should I feel guilty for not wanting to recommend her? Help!

Signed, Abby


Hi Abby,

When it comes to friendship, there is such a thing as too much togetherness. The same even applies for husbands and wives!

You are two people, not one. Having relationships and experiences apart from each other usually strengthens a friendship.

It’s understandable you would want some “me time” even if it’s at a part-time job. You shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling that way. Actually, your friend placed you in an awkward situation; it would have been better if she asked whether you were comfortable recommending her for a part-time job at your place of employment before presuming you would.

My advice: Tell your friend you love her to death, and you enjoy living and working together but you don’t want to be together 24/7. Offer to help her look for a part-time job in another setting if she’s intent on working. If your friend becomes too clingy or possessive, you may need to set other boundaries.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: Creating and maintaining boundaries, KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (4)

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  1. Gina says:

    In my opinion, it dosen’t have to destroy the friendship. It depens on the company, but if you and your friend work in the same company, but not in the same department, you don’t have to see each other that often. You should also talk to your friend, becouse it might be possible that she feels the same and change her mind about wannning to work in the same place. But the key to a good friendship is to be honest, so you should surch for a conversachon to clear the howl thing up. Maby you could also help her to find another job, that could be an compromise. I hope that this advises could helped you.

  2. Asia Bonner says:

    I’m sorry about your awkward situation.

  3. Asia Bonner says:

    My boss and I drew really close. She became like a best friend and mother to me. But being my boss at work had eventually put a strain on our relationship because are we friends or professional work mates? She also was overcoming not smoking anymore. I think if you keep separate jobs it will help prevent any problems in case you are put in some authority somewhere and have to ” tell her what to do”. Eventually there could be disagreements. You could even tell her you cherish your relationship with her so much and you don’t want to jeopardize it in anyway. You have heard of how too much together and how things can ruin a friendship when it involves a professional work environment and you love her so much you don’t want to take that chance but you will help her all you can to find another job if pay is the issue. Schedule a day together to do internet job searching. And soon afterwards schedule a date for lunch or something. Best regards!

  4. Amy F says:

    I lived and worked with a friend of mine for three years when I was in my early 20s. I had the third floor in her house, and we shared a bathroom and kitchen so there was a lot of privacy to keep good boundaries between us. We worked in different departments and only saw each other a few times throughout the day.
    I can understand why you might not want to work and live with your friend, especially if you don’t have a lot of space between you in both settings. I could do it with some friends and not others. There are plenty of friends with whom I wouldn’t want to live or work. However, if she needs the money/job, you may be jeopardizing the friendship by withholding your support.
    Talk to your friend about your concerns with an open mind. Open, honest communication is the only way to move forward. Tell her you’re worried about too much togetherness ruining your friendship. Be aware that she might not want to continue the friendship or roommate situation, particularly if she really needs the job. That doesn’t make her right and you wrong or vice versa. If she gave you the place to live, she might feel like a job is a quid pro quo. I do not think your friendship is doomed if you decide not to help her, because a conversation might make her change her mind about wanting the job. The worst thing you could do is lie about hrlping her, don’t go there, because that will probably come back to ruin your friendship.

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