Friendship in the workplace: how to mix business with pleasure

One of my favourite blogs is Penelope Trunk’s .  In a post of hers, she talks about how people who are happy at work have two or three friends in the office.  And perhaps it is true.  When there are people in the office you are close to, you can gripe about your boss (as long as said friend is not your boss which is a whole other matter entirely), tip each other off on when to apply for allowances or loans and plan things to do outside of work giving you something to look forward to. 


But friendship in the workplace is a minefield.  What happens if like mentioned above, one of your friends is your boss?  What happens when you have a fight?  Or she does your appraisal and you’re less than pleased with the result?  What if one of your friends is promoted and made your boss?  What then? Okay, so your friend wasn’t made your boss but what if she was given a job position higher than yours – a position for which you were both being assessed?  What happens if like friendships outside the office, you find that you guys really do see life differently and drift apart? How would you handle the inevitable questions from other colleagues about the ‘break up’ between you and your friend?


There are no clear-cut solutions to issues like this but as always, my first rule in the workplace is to be nice.  Being nice does not equate with being a door-mat.  If a friend turns on you, stand up for yourself.  Realise you don’t have to keep smiling if a close friend proves close enough to stab you in the back.  Another rule of thumb is to treat people the way you would like to be treated.  If it was you who got promoted over your friend, how would you treat them?  In the end, handling a friendship in the workplace isn’t so different from handling one out of it.  Treat friends with kindness wherever you come across them.


Want to know when a new blog post of mine comes up? All you need to do is subscribe to my blog.  It’s free!  Just enter your email address into the box on the right.  Want to get in touch with me?  You can do so via Facebook or Twitter or by sending me an email.