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How to Balance a Social and Professional Relationship with Coworkers

How to Balance a Social and Professional Relationship with Coworkers

A full-time employee spends more than 40 hours a week in the office. To make this time enjoyable and to help you feel engaged and connected at work, it is essential that you develop strong professional relationships. However, it can be challenging to find a balance between social and professional relationships in the workplace. Here are a few ways for handling these work relationships.

Be Careful What You Share 

While a strong friendship is built on knowing one another well, you want to be wary about oversharing details about your personal life. While it is certainly acceptable to share some information about your life with your coworkers, such as what you did over the weekend and funny things your family member may have said, you want to prevent sharing personal details that could potentially be used against you.  

Be particularly mindful of what you write down on emails, text messages, etc. When it is written, it can be forwarded to your boss, HR personnel, and other individuals and could cost you a job or promotion.  

Stay Away From Gossip

Gossip in the workplace can not only be harmful but it can create unnecessary contention in the office. Make it a goal to avoid all gossip, particularly about those coworkers who you consider close friends. You may need to walk away from conversations that talk about others and refrain from sharing it. You may find that gossiping will not only hurt your relationships with your coworkers but it can put you in some awkward and tense conversations as well. 

Include Everyone

The office is not a place to form cliques. For example, if you frequently seek the help of coworkers to complete projects, don’t focus exclusively on those you know well. Rather, include others you may not work with often, who have certain skills that could benefit your project, etc.  

It is also important to think about others when you go out to lunch, during team building activities, etc. Remember that the workplace is not high school and you don’t want to be a bully. 

 Take a Look at Your Company’s Culture

Your office culture will play a large role in determining how to build both social and professional relationships with your coworkers. For example, if your office laid back and casual, it may be much easier to create a more social relationship. This environment often has more casual language, coworkers feel more relaxed, etc. However, if it is a high-pressure environment with lots of stress, there may not be the time or circumstances to allow for these relaxed moments.   

Striking a balance between social and professional relationships can be challenging. Luckily, by keeping the above tips in mind, you may find that it is possible and you can have relationships in the office that you enjoy, that keep you engaged at work, and will help you achieve your career goals.