Making friendships in the workplace might be considered a little complex when you have to work around one another every day. For those who choose to form friendships with employees, you could almost look at it as a marriage other than sleeping under the same roof together. And even then, some companies have to do all-nighters on a project where employees may end up sleeping together in the same room.
In the above scenario, we’ll assume that nothing else went on beyond the sleeping. But it’s certainly not out of the ordinary to see such a thing. Those that can keep it within the boundaries of a close friendship, though, have a lot of advantages in the workplace. Likewise, there may be some major challenges when you have to be impartial over a decision made by a manager, CEO, or an entire group of employees.
Benefits of Forming Friendships in the Office
Levo.com points out that those who develop friendships at work generally report much better job satisfaction. It’s obviously going to depend on personal philosophy about how much of your work life should extend into your personal life. Many people prefer to have two separate worlds, including the people involved. That may be true if you don’t exactly love your job and would prefer to keep associates in a separate universe so it doesn’t intrude on your real life.
Regardless, those who enjoy where they work can form enough close friendships where communication doesn’t become a burden. Office communication is one of the most complex issues to tackle, and those who don’t know one another well may avoid telling their peers about something important. In some cases, someone may desperately want to nurture friendships, yet don’t want to force anything with a less receptive employee.
How Do You Start a Friendship in the Workplace?
The key here is establishing a sense of trust so you can easily confer with one another during stressful times down the road in the company. You should never force a friendship on someone you might think would benefit you in the workplace. It’s best to have short chats first and see what you might have in common so you can nurture something real rather than starting a friendship of convenience. Sometimes, you may be thrown into a friendship situation when required to work around one another for long hours doing brainstorming. Some close relationships can be formed this way, even if you don’t have everything in common.
Increasing Friendships so There Isn’t any Office Politics
You should try to become friends with as many employees as possible or face the possibility of office politics rearing its ugly face. Particularly if you strike up a friendship with the manager and no one else, you’re asking for employees suspecting you’re favoring certain people and perhaps getting special treatment due to that friendship. By getting to know everyone (including going to lunch regularly), you can get to know everyone well, no matter if you won’t be bringing them home for dinner with your family.
The Dangers of Letting an Employee Go
In corporate settings, sometimes a board has to vote on whether someone should be let go from the company. Friendships can be tested this way if you have to be in on the vote and the employee knows about it. It’s one reason why when nurturing friendships, have things in common outside the workplace so you can keep that friendship going even if they have to leave the job. If they’re astute enough to separate work life from the outside world, then they won’t hold a grudge that you were forced into doing something that cost them their job.
With workplace life becoming increasingly different from our personal lives, these friendships may have to cross over as if exiting one alternate dimension to another.