Setting Boundaries When Working With Friends

Setting Boundaries When Working With Friends


While having a best friend as a coworker may seem like a dream come true, it can be a major test of your friendship. Work life and home life can be two different worlds, and when you have an established relationship with someone, mixing those two dynamics can get tough. Read on as we show you how to make your new coworker experience the fairytale you’ve been hoping for!

Talk It Out

Spending too much time with just about anyone can lead two people to get tired of each other, but a stressful workplace environment can really amplify that feeling. So before you get too excited about sharing an office with your bestie, it’s important to cut out some time for a serious conversation about the possible “what ifs” that may happen across your relationship.

If you’re coworkers…

  1. What if one of us gets promoted?
  2. What if we get close with other colleagues?
  3. What if we have different feelings about the job or boss?

If your friend is your boss…

  1. What if I decide to leave the job?
  2. What if we disagree on business-related matters?
  3. What if you decide someone else would be a better fit for my position?

Communication: Friends v. Business Partners

Chances are, you wouldn’t chat with your company’s CEO in the same way that you would with your lifelong best friend. That’s a good thing – it’s a major part of maintaining a respectful workplace environment! Even if your new colleague isn’t your new supervisor, it’s still important to make a distinction between how you expect interactions to go both inside and outside the office. While it’s perfectly okay (and encouraged) to be friendly, you don’t want to treat your work BFF much differently than any other coworker. Save the heart-to-hearts for after hours.

Eliminate Favoritism

As long as you’re on the clock, your loyalties stay with the company, and you have their best interest at heart. That’s an unspoken agreement you made when you were hired (and a major component of professionalism!). It’s easy to hand every opportunity over to your best friend, especially if you’re the boss, but that practice is bound to cause unnecessary tension in the office. It’s hard to succeed as a team when the company seems divided by cliques!

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Communication is a critical aspect of any relationship, but this particularly holds true when you’re playing the roles of friend and colleague. Maintaining open communication is critical in effectively managing both relationships – if any concerns arise, voice them! Bottling up your feelings can be especially dangerous when your career and your relationships are at risk.

Above all, always remember that business is business! The roles you play in a friendship and in a work relationship can be at odds, but it’s up to you to keep the two separate! Maintaining an open mindset and being willing to communicate are the only ways to make it work, but if you’re willing to take those steps, the outcome can be extremely rewarding!