In an average week, you can spend upwards of 40 hours with your colleagues, I sometimes feel like I see them more than my family, so it makes sense that you will make friends with some of your colleagues. But how do you manage when you step over the boundary of acquaintance and you still have to work together?
DON’T LET OUT YOUR SECRETS TOO EARLY
You have a new friend in your personal life, but that doesn’t mean you should give up your secrets straight away, they should come with time and trust. Revealing your personal secrets could make their way into your work environment and that is not true friendship.
SEPARATE WORK AND PLEASURE
You don’t suddenly want work encroaching on your personal life and if your only topic of conversation is work gossip then the novelty will wear off quickly. At personal times make sure work talk takes a back seat and you can enjoy your friendship anew. This is the same during work, continue to act professionally and concentrate on your work rather than your weekend plans. It seems a bit strict but this is the best way to manage office friendships.
A trusted friend at work is a great thing but bring out a promotion and suddenly people don’t play fairly anymore. I’m not saying you won’t have respect for one another and will let work come between you, as this happens rarely thankfully, but sadly sometimes peoples career progression trumps friendship and as long as you work together that is a possibility.
GIVE EACH OTHER SPACE
So those 40 hours a week spent together may now rise, since you hang outside of work. Just like any relationship, living in each other’s pockets isn’t healthy and you may find that you need space, be considerate to your friend too and give them space when they need it. It’s not that they don’t want to have lunch with you anymore, it’s more that they want to have a day or two with others and then will gravitate back to you.
I have a wonderful friend I used to work with; we couldn’t stand working with each other but have a solid friendship. It sounds strange and other colleagues couldn’t understand how we could be arguing about work design one minute and then laughing over lunch the next. Thing is, we separated our disagreements, and understood that an argument didn’t spell the end of our friendship.
I have made a few solid friendships out of my working life and can’t imagine not having them in my life, offering support and advice. However, I have also noted that not everyone who claims to be your friend in the office is truly after friendship. Stay wise and alert.
Have you got any tips on getting the most out of work friendships?