Which of the Following is True About Office Friendships

Which of the Following is True About Office Friendships

How to navigate the inherent awkwardness of workplace friendships.

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Hannah Jacobs


Work friendships are peachy.

This is an obvious statement, only it also happens to be a fairly pop subject of report among organizational psychologists. Consider, for example, a recently published meta-analysis in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin that analyzed 26 studies on work and friendship and concluded that teams fabricated up of friends tended to perform better than teams fabricated up of strangers.

Twenty-six studies to confirm the fact that, yes, work friendships are great.

Yet having and keeping friends at work tin feel more than complicated than these studies let on. Say you’re leading a big project, and your friend’s contribution to that projection is a full mess. Or maybe your friend is lately non doing her share of the work, which ways
you
are too oftentimes doing it for her. What are you supposed to say? What are you lot supposed to do? And how can you lot say or practice that without damaging your friendship in the process?

And there’s the rub: “If we befriend someone at piece of work, it’s likely that we besides need to
work
with them,” said Jessica Methot, associate professor of human being resource management at Rutgers University, who has studied the weirdness inherent in being friends with your co-workers.

In 2015, for example, Dr. Methot and her colleagues published a study in Personnel Psychology
on then-called multiplex relationships, a rather fussy term used in the psychological literature to describe people who are both 18-carat friends and direct co-workers. This is the person you lot piece of work closely with every day — not just a pal in some other section or a sometimes luncheon companion.

Dr. Methot’s study confirmed, over again, that these relationships tin can be valuable, as employees who reported more than multiplex relationships also received better performance reviews from their supervisors.

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Just these same employees as well tended to report more emotional exhaustion — ane of the symptoms of burnout — than those who had fewer of these friendships, a finding that should band true to anyone who’due south had a good piece of work friend. You lot’re playing ii roles at once: friend and colleague. Friends unconditionally support each other, simply colleagues tin’t always do that, especially when their own reputation is at pale. Information technology can exist draining to have to decide which office to play, and when.

About 8 years agone, Patricia Sias, a University of Arizona researcher who studies workplace relationships, interviewed two ex-best friends who worked together. Their friendship had ended, simply they remained colleagues. Separately, they told Ms. Sias why.

“One of them had made a proposal in a meeting, and information technology got voted downwardly, and their friend voted against it,” Ms. Sias said. The friend who made the proposal was hurt and afterwards asked the other why he hadn’t supported him. After all, weren’t they supposed to exist friends?

The 2nd friend replied: “Friendship has nothing to do with it.” The offset friend’due south proposal simply wasn’t a skillful one. “The ane employee felt betrayed past his friend,” Ms. Sias said. “The proposal was of import to him, and he expected full support and was surprised and hurt when he didn’t get information technology from his friend. … He couldn’t separate personal and professional.” For these ii, that was that; the friendship was never quite the aforementioned after.

“You’re kind of pulled in these ii unlike directions,” Dr. Methot said. “Exercise I behave professionally, or practise I try to continue to maintain or invest in this friendship?” Most of us, she said, “would retrieve the personal relationship deserves priority — but in the workplace that’due south not necessarily the case.”

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Dr. Methot’s advice: You’re co-workers first, and friends second. (Yes, she is aware of how insensitive that sounds, though she would prefer the give-and-take “strategic.”)

In do, that ways being a little more than guarded than you lot would be with your nonwork friends. At happy hr, for instance, maybe stop sharing the secrets that “we wouldn’t want our dominate to observe out,” Dr. Methot said.

That’s non to say workplace friendships are necessarily doomed. Honesty is important for whatever relationship, but having the courage to exist straightforward with your piece of work friends often gives y’all a better chance of keeping them, said the piece of work advice columnist Alison Green, who has answered questions about all sorts of uncomfortable office issues on her site Ask a Manager for more than than a decade.

Ms. Green said friendship is a perennially pop subject for her readers. What should you lot practise, for example, if your friend is terrible at her job and you keep having to comprehend for her? In this situation, and in countless more, Ms. Green has advised the same thing: You’re going to take to talk to them.

Information technology sounds like such simple communication — and information technology is — but the truth is that few people actually take it. Each December, Ms. Dark-green spends the calendar month doing a kind of “Where are they at present?” bank check-in for her by alphabetic character-writers. “And I accept to say, a disproportionate number of the updates are non, ‘I had the awkward conversation,’” said Ms. Green, whose volume, “Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Dejeuner-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work,” will be published in May. “Instead, they are, ‘I left the job.’”

“One of the problems we run into is that people who become closer with each other don’t actually communicate well,” Dr. Methot said. “We see this with spouses really often — they expect the other person to read their listen,” she said, “and nosotros see a watered-down version of that in friendships. ‘You already know this nigh me, do we really need to talk about it?’ But you practice demand to talk about it.”

It’due south just that talking about information technology can exist so deeply uncomfortable. You don’t want to upset your friend, or mayhap you don’t want to let on that your friend has upset you. Merely these conversations don’t have to feel excruciatingly awkward, if yous know how to approach them the right way.

If, for example, you demand to talk to your co-worker pal who isn’t pulling her weight, you lot don’t have to frame it equally criticism.

“You want it to sound like you’re in problem-solving fashion,” Ms. Green said. “You want information technology to convey, ‘Hey, hither’due south this thing that I noticed, it’s causing problems in X, Y and Z fashion. I was thinking perchance in that location was something we could do about it — can we talk this through?’”

This is your friend, after all. Get-go past assuming good intent, and try striking a collaborative note when y’all talk. “In some ways, the friendship makes it harder, because there are all these actress dynamics in the mix,” Ms. Dark-green said. “But in some ways, the friendship makes it easier, because there’southward a foundation of trust there, and they know at that place’s good volition on your part.”

Run into? Piece of work friendships are great.

Melissa Dahl is the editor of New York
magazine’s Science of United states, and the writer of “
Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness
.”

Which of the Following is True About Office Friendships

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/smarter-living/why-office-friendships-can-feel-so-awkward.html