After-Work Parties With Colleagues
There are only 24 hours in a day, about 8 of them are spent sleeping and 5 of them are spent with family and friends. The other 11 hours are typically spent commuting to and from work and spending time in the office. With that being said, it is incredibly easy to form friendships at work, whether it’s with your boss or your coworkers.
Although it can be a great opportunity to make friends with the people you’re working with, it becomes a problem when your friendships start to encroach on your professional relationships. It’s important to draw the line between work relationships and friendships as early as possible, especially if you’re the boss.
Below are some tips to take into consideration when you’re ready to set a difference between at-work and after-work relationships.
1. Limit Oversharing
As the single most difficult part of having relationships both inside and outside of the office, oversharing can become a big problem. Your best bet is to stick to work chats that relate to things you do in your personal time instead of focusing on at-work issues outside of work.
For example, you can guarantee that talking about a movie you saw on the weekend or updates with your family would be okay with your at-work friends. But discussing difficulties you’re experiencing in the office while you’re out at a bar with your work friends will make its way back into the office.
Try to figure out what is and isn’t safe to talk about outside and inside of the office to begin the idea of setting boundaries in your relationships.
2. Be Realistic About Friendships
Being open-minded when it comes to your relationships is what will give you a clear idea of how to act around your friends in and out of work. At the end of the day, it can be tempting to want everyone to be your best friend but it’s simply unrealistic. Instead, take a look at the situation as it truly is: you work together and so some topics are off limits.
You can’t expect the people you work with to do special things for you in the office and you can certainly expect tension out of the office if you’re experiencing issues with your in-office relationships.
Remember, you can establish an entirely different set of friends that have nothing to do with your work to confide in. Your coworkers aren’t your personal confidants and its best to operate under the idea of no strings attached.
3. Set Clear Boundaries
If you’re concerned about whether your friendships will get damaged because you work together, it’s best, to be honest with all of your friends. Set clear boundaries at the beginning that state what you are and aren’t comfortable with. You might be surprised to find that the majority of your concerns are things that your group might also be dealing with.
For example, the majority of people understand that no one wants to be in a position to where their friendships hinder their performance at work. You might also find that some people you’re friends with outside of work are better to not be associated with at the office.
How can you set clear boundaries? The answer is simple: conversation! Sit down and have a talk with your coworkers about how when you’re outside of work, the camaraderie can begin but once you step through the doors of work all of that goes out of the window. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself in a struggle between compromising your work performance for keeping people in your friend group happy at work.
4. Accept the Concept of Favoritism
No matter how you approach having friends inside of work, especially if you’re the boss, people are going to assume that you have your favorites. Although this may not be the case, it’s going to be something you’ll have to deal with in your professional life. Your best option is to be as completely unbiased as possible to help quell the negative impressions others may have.
For example, if one of your friends misses a major deadline on a project you are responsible for reprimanding them as you would anyone else in the office, no matter if they’ll get mad at you or not. The same applies when they do something positive, treatment amongst all of your employees and coworkers should be the same across the board.
The sooner you’re able to come to terms with the fact that people are going to assume favoritism, the easier it will be to combat it before it gets worse.
5. Vent Outside of Your Circle
Everyone encounters issues at work; in fact, you might find that your bad days are beginning to outnumber your good days. Whether your supervisor yelled at you for dropping the ball or if the poor performance of employees is overwhelming you, issues are seemingly everywhere. With that being said, it can be tempting to vent to your work friends, but it’s certainly one of the worst things you can do. As mentioned, you can guarantee the frustrations you voice to your out of work friends will make their way back into the office.
The last thing you’ll want to be responsible for is establishing a negative work environment that is tainted by the struggles you’re facing. This is why it’s advised that you create a group of friends that have absolutely nothing to do with your day job and talk to them about your struggles. You can even talk to your family members and significant others about work issues but ensure they’re kept out of the office.
It’s human nature to need friends and with people spending more hours at the office than at home it can be difficult to not become chummy with the people you’re around on a regular basis. Setting clear boundaries between your at-work and out of work conversations is what can help you to easily maintain friendships in all areas of your life.