Insight

How to work with friends without damaging your personal relationship

By Aaron Heera |

The boundaries between our personal and work lives are disappearing as we embrace new ways of working. Whether you’re in business with a friend or become friends with your manager, maintaining both work & personal relationships can be tricky. But it isn’t impossible. Finding a balance that works for everyone, for your career and for the business, is crucial. We’ve come up with some advice to help you maintain a healthy balance, succeed at work and keep your friendship strong.

Set boundaries

It goes without saying that setting time aside to discuss roles, responsibilities’ and expectations is key. Sit down with your friend at a mutually agreed time and discuss what your roles are, what you need from each other at work and how you will manage this. Draw up a contract if needed that can be referred to if things become difficult. Establishing personal and professional boundaries lets everyone know what is expected so you can get on with your work.

Keep it professional

Once you’ve set out your roles, stick to them. If you’ve decided to keep work and personal life separate, maintain this. Keep work feedback objective and always involve other colleagues if needed. Avoid becoming involved in gossip or excluding co-workers who may perceive your friendship as a threat. Collaborate, be respectful and engage all your colleagues equally.

Take a step back

There will be times when you find it difficult to be objective when working with a friend. If you find yourselves at an impasse or your personal relationship is clouding your judgement, step back. Ask a neutral colleague to help or take over a piece of work. Make an appointment with your friend at a later date to readdress the issues.

Keeping the friendship alive

Remember why you are friends and make time for the things that matter to you. Spend time together away from work and ban any talk of your projects. At busy times, your friendship may need to be set aside to hit deadlines and targets. A good friendship will still be there when the dust settles. Look after it when you can so it is sustained when you can’t.

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Aaron Heera

Written by Aaron Heera

I’m Aaron Heera and I work with customers placing IT Consultants/Contractors/Freelancers in roles such as Project Managers in Brussels as well as managing some of our key accounts. Did you know Aaron is usually found at Glastonbury Festival every summer and even made the front page of the BBC website playing a self-created game of Welly Cricket on the Legendary Hill.