Friends That Work Together?

I have the distinct pleasure of working with some women that I have known for years. They are incredibly smart, really fun and down to earth. I trust them implicitly, and the best part of all is that on most occasions we can ‘read each other’s mail.’ It’s basically a real relief to not have to train them in the ways of public relations. I spent a lot of years doing that, and though there was a load of satisfaction in watching my associates find their feet, and ultimately become quite adept, even brilliant in their careers, it was a bit tiring. A small business owner will always wear a lot of hats and juggling the various responsibilities will help you gain a better knowledge of what you are good at, and not so good at. I will admit that I found the training process sometimes enervating, albeit rewarding.

But I digress. Can you be friends with the people you work with? It’s a worthy question, because maintaining good boundaries, I believe, is an excellent strategy for fostering healthy relationships. I remember being friends with one of my employees on Facebook and noting her various stops during a night of pub crawling, and not being surprised when she was too ‘sick’ to make it in to work the next morning. No kidding. After that I suggested that my colleagues unfriend me. Just didn’t seem wise. For them, anyway. Or, that night after a very long day of dealing with a series of client issues where I watched my team traipse off to drink their stress away. I was invited, but I had a mound of paperwork to do, and just didn’t feel right about leaving it undone. I remember weeping at my desk - how embarrassing - but I figured duty was more important than a glass of chardonnay.

Here’s the thing: my belief is that when you are leading people, it’s probably best to retain good boundaries, for the sake of everyone involved. But when you spend more time with your work associates than your own family it would make sense that friendships flourish. It’s a tough one. Anyone up for a cocktail?