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Professional “Politics”: Mixing Business With Pleasure

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

We all know that starting an office romance is frequently frowned upon, but what about forging a friendship.

Many agree that work is an excellent environment for meeting new people and making new friends. It can even help make work more “fun”, and most days go by faster.

In fact, for many the office is their home away from home and perhaps the “only” social environment they look forward to all week. And, for many women, work can transform into an “intimate” neighborhood. Furthermore, for those who don’t have family or friends close by, colleagues can become a significant support system and social network. Plus, you can really get to see all sides of individuals REALLY getting to know them and often bonding with them due to the long hours your spend together. And, let’s not forget that having someone to talk to, confide in, share lunch with, give us encouragement and confidence and who may even help us perform our job and duties better are all among the plethora of positives of forming friendships at work or working with a favored friend.

On the other hand, just like any relationship, there’s certain rules, protocol, and office “politics” to deal with.

Besides not wanting your friendship interfere (negatively) with your progress and performance or spark “jealousy”, rumors and resentment from others, you may see or hear something your friend does or says that you don’t agree with, or vice-versa, which can make put stress on both your personal and professional relationship and at times you may even experience an alliance that fizzles out or goes down hill. Yet, you still have to work with this person, AND, you may even have to share a space and deal with each other every day.

Besides making your workday “uncomfortable” (and perhaps unpleasant) experts suggest that it may also affect your life and your disposition outside of work.

But, unlike high school, as mature adults (in the real world and in the real work force) these are just some of the real life situations we are sometimes called to face, and always called to handle and deal with diplomatically and with eloquence and class.

Sure, we can opt to up and leave our job, which may not be out of the question if you can do it (just remember to use more discretion and better judgment next time). Otherwise, experts note our alternative is to remain pleasantly “unaffected”, professional and poised, simply do our job, what we are paid to do, and leave work and all the elements attached to it, at our desk, once we walk out the office door. And, keep in mind, that unlike our adolescent years, what goes on at the office (most likely) remains at the office and has little bearing or effect on our life, future, or happiness outside of work, unless we allow it to.

Professionals point out that the key to any successful office relationship is to keep it separate from your personal relationship and as much out of the office as possible. Plus, they suggest proceeding with extreme caution when forging friendships and how far you allow them to go, especially within a short period of time. And remember, to keep your recognize the different levels of friendship and keep quiet (even to a fairly trusted friend) about grievances with other colleagues, supervisors and bosses.

They further recommend not making the office your only social scene and placing ALL your emotional energy to your job and making friends at work. And, with regards to the friends you “do” make, they suggest “testing” the relationship and going out after hours, taking note on what you have in common other than work, and if you are successful at bonding on other levels besides talking about work and the latest office “gossip”. If you go however find that you genuinely get along, you may want to make a pack, that once work is office, you can talk about anything but.

Long Island Money & Careers Articles > Professional “Politics”: Mixing Business With Pleasure

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