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5 Tips for Making Office Friendships Work

5 Tips for Making Office Friendships Work

Cheri Swales | Monster Contributing Writer

July 28, 2009

If you’ve worked with the same company for several years, you’ve probably built many friendships. Some of your coworkers might be close friends, while others are individuals with whom you might share a weekend story on Monday morning. A friendship at work can become a powerful networking tool or a toxic relationship. What works best when you are in a leadership position?

“In general, casual — not close — friendships are preferable in business. Casual ones are safest, but carefully managed close or best ones will also help,” says Dr. Jan Yager, author of Business Protocol. In her survey of 126 human resource managers, 37 percent said they got their current job through someone they knew, and 25 percent said they got their job through a close friend or family member. So close or distant friendships can be a real advantage.

How Do You Make Friendships Work at Work?

To maintain dignity and respect in your leadership position, you need to follow a few important tips.

1. Set Parameters with Close Friends

Sit down and talk with your friend about how you will work together. Make it clear that you do not intend to extend special favors. Also make it clear that your close friend should refer to you the same way other employees do while you are at work. Let your friend know that when you are away from work, you prefer not to discuss work situations involving him.

2. Be Careful Whom You Trust

It is very important to take your time building friendships at work. Watch and see which individual seems to be the person that other employees confide in and who seems to click with whom. It takes time to build trust, so don’t start confiding top secrets to a new person right away. Share small, insignificant confidences at first to test the waters.

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