Managing Personal Relationships In The Workplace

Relationships Matter

While your family relationships may be the most important relationships in your life, your relationships with those you work with almost become equally important. Especially when you consider you may spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your wife or children.

Personal relationships in the workplace matter

Photo by Headway

This fact is daunting. Forty-plus hours a week are spent with people in your office. That’s almost a quarter of your week.

What this means is the relationships at work often become personal relationships on top of the working relationships you have with your coworkers. These people become your friends, confidants, and, sometimes, your significant other.

Don’t tell me these relationships don’t matter. They do. And you have to learn how to manage those personal relationships in the workplace.

Managing Personal Relationships In The Workplace

One of the reasons I’ve stuck out some pretty horrible jobs has been because of the personal relationships I’ve formed in the workplace. For years, I spent my 40-hour workweek with a coworker named Jeff. When he left, my office shifted and I was paired with Debbie in an open office environment.

The years I spent with Jeff were some of the most meaningful. We formed a closer friendship than we had previously as we were together day in and day out. When he returned for a two-year period, we were once again in an office together. Our friendship grew once more.

I can say the same with Debbie. We spent multiple years together in the same office area. From eight A.M. to 5 P.M., we were in the same area together. We’d talk and share our lives with one another.

The stories Jeff and I, and then Debbie and I, shared with one another created personal relationships in the workplace. Stories about children growing up and going to college, broken relationships, family illnesses. These stories brought up closer together.

They were needed and they’re important. They also had to be managed.

When you have personal relationships in the workplace, you have to set boundaries. There are things that are acceptable and things that are not.

Set Boundaries:

When looking at the personal relationships you’re going to have in the workplace, you have to set boundaries. Boundaries can be anything from the topics you’ll talk about to the way you treat one another.

Jeff and I probably took this to a whole nother level as we’d been friends before we’d been paired up together. We had much looser boundaries than we would have if we didn’t know one another.

Make sure you know what is appropriate to say and do. These are boundaries that could get you in trouble.

Be Realistic:

Workplace relationships often become personal because of the time you spend together throughout the workweek. Quite often, you may want to spend more time with your coworkers.

This could be going out to the local hockey game or hitting a small coffee shop in town. You just want to hang out and be friends.

You’ve got to remember something: They have a life outside of work too. They have a family and other friends and you’ve got to respect their time.

It’s great if they want to get together outside of work. But remember their personal life doesn’t have to include those from work.

Choose Wisely:

More than anything, you’re going to have to choose wisely whom you become personal friends with inside the office. These workplace friendships will either be uplifting or be draining.

You can either feed positivity to one another or you can feed negativity to each other. Especially as you’re talking to one another outside of work.

You’ll want to choose people who are positive in the workplace. Those who speak words of affirmation and uplift you and your coworkers.

When you begin looking at your relationships in the workplace, you’ll see what you need to do. You’ll need to set boundaries about the things you share, be realistic about the amount of time you can spend with one another, and choose wisely whom you’ll befriend.

When you pay attention to these things, your workplace relationships will blossom and you’ll thrive. Choose wisely.

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