The reasons behind why you shouldn’t discuss your personal life at work may come as a surprise to many people. After all, discussing your personal life at work may come as a welcome distraction, serve to form closer bonds with your co-workers, or even give people an enhanced appreciation of the remarkable person you are.
However, in the vast majority of cases, there is definitely more reasoning behind the argument for why you shouldn’t discuss your personal life at work than the alternative viewpoint. In a professional office environment, the practice of personal life discussion is a breach of professionalism standards, and typically has certain consequences.
You may believe that your co-workers absolutely love to hear your stories of your struggles to housebreak your new poodle puppy, or the current relationship issues that your teenage daughter is experiencing, or your thoughts on the latest superhero movie out in theaters. However, the more likely conclusions is that, actually, your co-workers do not really enjoy your little stories and, in fact, would prefer to keep quiet or on-topic as they try to remain productive. Perhaps this is the biggest reason why you shouldn’t discuss your personal life at work: You run the risk of being known as the chatty one who everyone will now try to avoid and will thoroughly dislike as long as you are around in the organization.
Building on the previous point, once you have attained stigma status (perhaps a humorous contradiction in terms there), your co-workers will begin avoiding you; or, at least, avoiding conversation with you. In a competitive office environment this can be detrimental, as you find yourself with fewer allies in the tricky world of office politics, and also discovering that it is much more difficult to get people to work with you on crucial projects, or even to gain simple favors from. It may seem immature or silly, but it is true: One motivation for knowing why you shouldn’t discuss your personal life at work is the realization that, if you become annoying, eventually nobody will like you or want to work with you, and will thus do whatever they can to avoid you.
But even beyond the reactionary measures of co-workers and managers alike is the issue of principle. That principle is professionalism, and although it can seem rather intangible and difficult to understand at times, one incentive for why you shouldn’t discuss your personal life at work is just that it is unprofessional. It is not within the standards of best practice for a worker, it is considered rude, and it hinders productivity. That is the blunt explanation, and the true one.
For some it may be more difficult than others, but mastering the mindset of why you shouldn’t discuss your personal life at work is one of many useful tips to be adopted in order to meet your full potential as the most productive, likable office worker you can be.