11 Secrets You Should Never Tell Your Co-Workers

No matter how tempting, sharing these secrets could end up hurting you in the long run.
Updated April 12, 2024
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When you see the same people every day, it's natural to start feeling comfortable with them. You share many of the same experiences, and you may even find yourself opening up.

But if you do, you may put yourself in a difficult position. Some secrets are best kept to yourself, or at least with people you work with.

If you want to succeed professionally and avoid making mistakes at work, here are the biggest things you shouldn’t share with your co-workers.

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You hate your job

Damir Khabirov/Adobe confused man resting head infront of laptop

Many people say they don’t like their job. You may have some of the same gripes as your co-workers and find that sharing those complaints gives you a bit of satisfaction in knowing you’re not alone.

Besides, in constructive feedback settings, keep your negative feelings about the company and management to yourself, no matter how tempting it can be to share.

Just one person mentioning this to your employer could change your relationship with your boss, creating uneasy feelings and even difficulty maintaining your position.

How much you make

Andrei Korzhyts/Adobe man holding bunch of US dollars

Sharing your salary and comparing notes with your colleagues isn’t always a good idea.

It puts you in a position where you could become upset if you’re not making as much as another employee, or it could cause frustration for other people for the same reason.

And while you are legally allowed to discuss your salary with co-workers, bosses typically don’t appreciate it.

Your politics

Creativa Images/Adobe businesspeople pointing at each other having an argument

Everyone has an opinion, and most people have very good reasons to stand behind what they believe. That doesn’t mean the workspace is the right location to talk about them.

Sensitive topics like politics and religion often lead to heated discussions and hurt feelings, and they're best left out of the office.

Even if you’re very passionate about your opinions, it’s best to avoid conversations that could alter relationships at work or pit you against your employer.

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You’re looking for another job

silverkblack/Adobe manager shaking hand to female candidate after having job interview

Aside from your profile on Indeed or LinkedIn that states you’re looking for a new position, don’t share that information in the work environment.

Doing so may mean your employer is no longer confident in you, and it could indicate that they should be working to replace you instead of working to help improve your job satisfaction.

Relationship issues

pressmaster/Adobe businessman leaning over his upset female crying colleague

Watercooler conversations like this can put your co-workers in a tough position. Even if it’s impacting you significantly, people at work are less likely to want or need to know about what’s happening in your relationships.

You could share these topics with a good friend from work outside of the workday, but even then, you’re showing your co-workers what’s really on your mind.

Chances are good that they’ll have an opinion about that relationship and your role in it too.

What you paid for an expensive item

Mangostar/Adobe business partners discussing contract details outside office

Are you coming to work today with a new car? Perhaps you’re closing on a luxury home or a second home on the lake.

No matter what these big purchases are, don’t talk about their cost at work. Your co-workers will likely learn about them over time, but you don’t want to come off as if you are bragging.

You also don’t want your boss to think they’re overpaying you or that you’re living beyond your means.

What you think of other coworkers

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe Businesswomen gossiping near laptop

Gossip is a vicious thing. Even if everything you share is accurate and the other person says they believe it, it could come back to hurt you.

Keep your negative views of co-workers to yourself or save them for your significant other at home. This type of gossip can negatively impact the way others think of you.

If you’re talking about someone else like this, chances are good people will do the same about you. It’s also simply unprofessional.

Your attraction to another coworker

Kzenon/Adobe man and woman talking while drinking coffee

There are times when you simply find yourself infatuated with another person — that’s how many relationships start.

But before things get too far, make sure you’re not violating any company policies. And avoid sharing those thoughts with other co-workers. It can be alarming and frustrating to them, but it can also create an unhealthy work situation.

If you have feelings for a co-worker, and it could interfere with your ability to do your job, talk to your manager about the situation first. You don’t want them to hear it from someone else later.

You’ve broken the rules

Srdjan/Adobe woman enjoys her free day watching tv and eating popcorn

Did you cut out of work early a few days last week? Perhaps you took a sick day when you weren’t sick.

Don’t share that information at work, even if it is as simple as taking home the work office stapler for your child’s project. This type of sharing can only hurt you.

If you weren’t there to work, someone else had to pick up the slack. That’s just one reason that people may turn against you and share that information with your employer.

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Your medical history

Rawpixel.com/Adobe paramedic placing a cervical collar to an injured man

Sometimes your employer needs to know about your medical situation so they know how to act if there’s an emergency.

However, your co-workers typically don’t want to hear about the intimate details. It could impact the way they look at you and may change the way they treat you, as well, depending on the situation.

If you’re battling an illness, that could make people believe that you can’t do your job. If you were in a car accident because you were drinking over the weekend, that could show a lack of responsibility.

Your exit strategy

Svitlana/Adobe man holding box with personal things and leaving modern office

You should always be thinking about your future and career goals, but that doesn’t mean you should be sharing them with others.

A quick mention by your co-worker to your manager that you plan to leave in a year doesn’t help you get your raise. Plan your future, but don't tell people who could use it against you later.

That also includes any plans you have to take over your boss’s position or run the company one day. Great plans and aspirations like these shouldn’t be shared with those who could stop you.

Bottom line

WavebreakmediaMicro/Adobe businesswomen discussing on white board with coworkers

It’s easy to feel at ease and even comfortable with the people you work with, and that often indicates a positive work environment. But remember that not everyone is sharing everything they think and believe.

Your co-workers might even use that information against you, especially if it could help them get that raise or promotion that could have helped you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.

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