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Maintaining Good Relationships at Work

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Deciding whether to maintain a relationship as friends or keep it strictly professional as colleagues can be a personal choice that depends on various factors, including your comfort level, workplace nature, and individual goals. Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision.

Becoming friends with colleagues

Pros

  • Collaboration. Friendships can enhance cooperation and teamwork, as you might communicate more openly and effectively.
  • Job satisfaction. Building relationships with colleagues can increase overall job satisfaction and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Social support. Friends at work can provide emotional support, making the workplace more enjoyable and supportive.
  • Stress relief. Having friends at work can provide a healthy outlet for stress and frustration.

Cons

  • Boundaries. Maintaining a balance between work-related and personal conversations can be challenging.
  • Professionalism. The line between professional behaviour and casual interactions might become blurred.
  • Impact of disagreements. Conflicts within friendships can affect your ability to work together effectively.

Maintaining professional relationships with colleagues

Pros

  • Clear boundaries. Maintaining a professional relationship helps clearly define the interactions’ nature.
  • Focus on work. A professional relationship ensures that your primary focus remains on work-related tasks.
  • Neutral workspace. Keeping your relationship professional can prevent personal issues from affecting the work environment.

Cons

  • Less social support. You might miss out on the emotional support that friends can provide during challenging times.
  • Limited collaboration. A more distant professional relationship might lead to less collaboration and communication.
  • Work-life balance. Building only professional relationships could make the work environment less welcoming and enjoyable.

Factors to consider

  • Comfort level. Consider your comfort level in sharing personal information and experiences with colleagues. Some people prefer keeping their personal lives separate from work.
  • Communication style. Reflect on your communication style and whether it’s conducive to maintaining a professional demeanour or building deeper connections.
  • Individual dynamics. The personalities of you and your colleagues play a role in how relationships develop. Some people are naturally more open to building friendships, while others prefer to keep things professional.
  • Workplace culture. Consider the overall culture of your workplace. Some environments encourage more social interaction, while others value a professional demeanour.
  • Your goals. Think about what you hope to achieve in your career and whether building friendships or maintaining strictly professional relationships aligns better with those goals.

Ultimately, maintaining a friendship or a professional relationship with colleagues is personal. It’s essential to assess your workplace dynamics and preferences before deciding.

Whichever path you choose, remember to maintain respect, professionalism, and consideration for the feelings and intentions of your colleagues.


Rona dela Rosa is the editor of Psychreg. She is an associate professor at the Polytechnic College of the City of Meycauyan.

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