Friendships in the workplace: Don’t get too close for comfort
A friendly relationship is good for everyone, as long as friendship doesn’t interfere with your responsibilities.
You naturally want to be on good terms with all your employees. A
friendly relationship is good for everyone, as long as friendship
doesn’t interfere with your responsibilities. Here’s how to strike the
• Set the right example. Adopt an attitude that’s pleasant and
open with people without being intrusive or overly personal. Employees
will pick up on how you expect to be treated and will respond the same
• Stay clear of personal issues. You should find out a little
about employees’ lives outside the workplace, but don’t go too deep.
Asking about their families may be fine, but offering advice on how to
rear their children or deal with their in-laws can create an awkward
relationship that may raise problems when you have to deal with serious
• Set reasonable boundaries. Don’t be afraid to warn employees if
their conversation starts veering into inappropriate areas. “I’m not
comfortable talking about that at work,” or something similar, should
keep employees on the right subjects.
• Separate work and life. Make an effort to build solid
relationships outside work so you’re not tempted to rely on employees
and co-workers for social contact. Remember that everyone needs to
disconnect from the office once in a while, and encourage your workforce
to do the same.
—Adapted from the PayScale website