How Personal Should Your Relationships with Colleagues Be?

August 1, 2022


Forming bonds with colleagues and coworkers is only natural since so much time is spent together. This may help your work performance since you may find yourself more enjoyable. However, this could cause conflicts in some instances. Different workers prefer other work relationships, so assessing your connection with colleagues is important. 

A Generational Divide

Since the rise of work-related television shows, individuals can romance the office workplace as a social outlet. As a result, millennials are more likely to share personal information with coworkers than baby boomers. A LinkedIn study showed that 67% of millennials are likelier to share personal information with coworkers. The generation gap could reveal whether some employees view their professional peers as colleagues vs. coworkers. 

Working generations were trained not to discuss their salaries with colleagues. Some people believe discussing wages is personal and an invasion of privacy. 

Social Shift

Workers texting their manager as friends may strike some as too personal of a relationship. However, the reality of this varies by industry. On the other hand, closer relationships between workers and their managers may not be bad for them. Historically, managers and bosses have kept their distance from their workers’ personal lives to uphold a standard of power above their workers. This meant for them; they could comfortably view workers as just another expense. Friendships between workers and managers mean a better understanding of both parties' working and living conditions. Perhaps, managers are likely to be more understanding if a worker is late if the personal relationship between the two reveals the worker is under tremendous personal stress. Likewise, a worker will better understand a manager’s request if they share that they are under pressure from their bosses. 

Personal Relationships with New Colleagues

When a new employee joins the company, it can be challenging to assess how they will fit in and if there is potential for a personal relationship. However, getting to know a new colleague will allow them to feel more comfortable in their new environment. In addition, establishing an interest between you two will help them feel like a more welcomed addition to the team. Especially at first, it is important to be conscious of the topics your new colleague discusses. Whether they discuss personal or, business matters will indicate how personal your relationship with them should be. 

Ultimately, whether or not a colleague wants to have a personal relationship varies by person. For example, suppose a colleague does not want an emotional connection. Similarly, if you are a worker that does not want to have a personal relationship with your colleagues, that is more than acceptable too. 

Training Resources to Improve Team Building

Coworkers and colleagues need to have an excellent relationship to accomplish teamwork together. Whether these relationships extend beyond the workplace it's a personal matter. The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) has various educational tools and resources for administrative professionals.

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