There is a reason we use two different words for people we work with and people we enjoy spending our spare time with. The first fall into the category of people we did not exactly choose to spend time with, but we have to because we work at the same place. The latter fall into a different category – people we actually put effort into having a relationship with. Usually, this is due to similar interests, hobbies and tastes.
But what if our colleagues turn out to be the type of people we would also enjoy spending some time outside the office?
Read on to find out our take on creating friendships with colleagues.
Deciding upon your boundaries regarding your coworkers
In case you have been working in this company for a while, chances are you are well acquainted with your colleagues and already have created a particular relationship with them. Many of us prefer to be friendly with our coworkers, but still keep a distance. This is a perfectly respectable choice, which ensures that you keep your work life separate from your personal life. This will enable you to clear your head from work-related issues and fully enjoy your free time.
Nevertheless, in case you are one of those people, who are dedicated and very passionate about their work and your colleagues are the same, then you might create deeper and closer relationships with them naturally. There is no coincidence why there are so many TV shows about working groups, such as lawyers, policemen, firefighters, doctors which reveal the appealing image of having a “work family”.
There is the other situation, when you are new at the workplace or are about to start a new job and you worry and wonder how you will fit into the team and if you will be liked. In such situations people tend to bend over and beyond to make sure they are well accepted. They feel like outsiders, because they are the last to join an already established group.
Many work groups are initially skeptical about the new recruits and tend to isolate them and even humiliate them. But fear not! As much it is up to you to affirm yourself and create a good impression, it is up to the members of the team to create images of themselves in front of you. When you are the newbie you have the chance to create an accurate notion about who you are dealing with. You can keep your distance for a while at the beginning to both keep some mystery about yourself and make your persona intriguing and gain time to assess the people around you. Once you have created an impression about each and every one of them you will be able to easily make up your mind whether this is going to be a strictly working zone or you will allow you coworkers to enter your friend zone.
Being consequent in your behavior regarding your coworkers
No matter if you find yourself in an already settled situation regarding your relationship with your coworkers or if you are about to create such relationships in the future, there is a very important rule – you must be consequent in your behavior. You can’t be super warm and friendly and telling your deepest secrets to your colleague one day and keep distance the other.
Avoiding office gossip
Coworkers’ friendship almost always creates uncomfortable situations because people involved tend to get to a point when gossip is inevitable. Whatever you do you must by any means avoid gossiping about your colleagues. When the situation presents itself and you find yourself desiring to discuss with someone a particular situation regarding your coworker friends, do that at home, if possible or take the highroad and be straight and honest with that person.
Finally, we should also talk about office romance, since a friendship with a coworker can easily evolve into a romantic relationship. This is usually a situation to be avoided, hence a lot of companies have implemented love contracts and other measures against claims from coworkers in a romantic relations.
There are many reasons for you to avoid such a situation – because people who spend all their work time and all their free time together tend to lose interest for one another rather sooner than later; because work conflicts inevitably are brought home; because it is so much harder to separate work from home; because in case the relationship doesn’t work out it will be extremely awkward; etc.
Yet so many people find themselves in office romances – sometimes they burn fast, but other times these relationships last for life. Our advice is if you are in the beginning of an office romance, keep it on the low for as long as you can and if it seems it will last, then talk with your partner about ground rules, such as no work talk at home and be strict about following them to ensure a calm long-lasting and happy cohabitation.