Making friends is harder as you get older. It’s largely based on location, despite our virtual web-based world. Most people keep in touch with childhood friends, and even some from college. But let’s face it, we make friends at work. They are not always your ideal friends, like the ones you have a ton in common with. Still, there is a social element to the workplace.
Get the big “don’t” covered right off the bat. Do not make friends based on gossip. That is gossip about anyone in your company, customers, or vendors. The boss knows about these gossipers and you will likely get lumped in with them.
How to foster a friendship with a colleague:
- The boss. It’s tempting to get chummy with the boss, especially if you connect on some level. But, approach with caution. Colleagues will be weary of you and assume that you are a spy for the boss.
- Off-site workers. You should have at least one work friend if you’re both off-site employees. Speak weekly to catch up and vent a bit (but not about the boss). Bounce ideas off of each other. Ask questions. Also talk about life and maybe some stressors. Being lonely is a real thing for employees who work from home. Just that one connection boosts morale.
- Subordinates. The people you manage, or subordinates, need to be treated with kid gloves most times. Be friendly, cordial, and professional. Since you are their boss, they may talk about you to other colleagues, so never complain about another subordinate to them. And definitely don’t speak about pay. No special treatment.
Workplace relationships can be nurtured to grow into long-lasting relationships, far beyond the “Good Morning” and “How was your weekend?” so let it come along naturally over time.
Do you work with your friends? Let us know!