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Should Workplace Relationships Be Formal or Friendly?

By Yumna M

Life is all about experiencing new things, meeting the unexpected, and carving our path out of it.


It’s just being in a big round laboratory where every move is part of an experiment we perform with ourselves, learn from the results, and move on to the next one.

In this worldratory, people interact with each other, in different scenarios, being in different kinds of relationships, and having varying dispositions and statuses.


When life takes a turn…

The day we step into a workplace and start our professional journey, our perspectives and views change. Though we are being prepared in schools and colleges, directly or indirectly, to be successful as a professional, there are still gaps in our knowledge about the dos and don’ts, our rights, and our responsibilities in the workplace.


What is a workplace?

The place we work in is called a workplace. It has its protocols and rules.

It could be a crowded office with beeping phones, fluttering papers, stacks of files on your table, and a busy you switching from one tab to the other on your PC.


Types of Relationships in a Workplace

In the workplace, there are people whom we call colleagues. Every moment we interact with them, and communicate with them, we build an understanding which would be the foundation of our future relationships.


In a workplace, there could be interpersonal, organizational role-based relationships, and personal relationships.


Of these relationships, the former two are formal relationships. Personal Relationships are, however, of an informal sort, characterized by strong emotional connections between individuals and their interactions as a friend rather than formal colleagues.

How are Personal relationships formed in a workplace?

Relationship scholars have stated the following reasons that work behind the formation of informal relationships:

  1. WORK/LIFE BORDER OVERLAPPING

  2. EXPRESSING ONE’S LIKING VIA BEHAVIOR

  3. TO GET EXTRA JOB ADVANTAGES

Colleagues having the same or different corporate status in a company might get involved in informal relationships.


What could be the Consequences of Informal Workplace Relationships?

The drawbacks out-weight the benefits of having close friendships in the workplace.

Friendship might become the only attraction or motivation to go to work which in turn affects employee/s work performance.


Such relationships may derive people to make biased decisions, fire jealousies among workers, and end up making groups in organizations, compromising the performance of the company altogether.


In this era of social media dominance, these friendships can be heightened and the consequences could be destroying for individuals and businesses!


A side note, I heard Coach Mousa mentioned several times that friendship between men & women is almost impossible, so it applies also at the work place kind of relationships.


Coach Mousa wrote:

"Well, at workplace as in real life many people have met each other by chance & they ended up to be together forever.


But what many men usually do?!!

Men are visual creatures; they can even imagine how their kids will look like the first moment they meet a woman who they desire!


Women approach relationships differently with the attitude: is this man good for me regardless of his look!


Women do not like to hurt any man's feelings by saying No.

They try to let them down politely.


But most men misinterpret this politeness & they take it as a sign to try harder!


They start doing inappropriate things, chase & acting like stalkers to force her to throw in the towel!


The truth is, attraction is not a choice. She either likes you, or she does not.


Not everyone you like will feel the same about you.


It is crucial to draw clear boundaries wherever you go to avoid putting yourself in bad situations". Coach Mousa.


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