Can We Be (professional) Friends?

According to Business Insider, the average American worker will spend 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime. I don’t know about you, but if you’re spending that much time with an employer – any employer – I think having solid relationships in the workplace means that time is going to be way better for you (way better is, of course, a quantifiable amount).

Building solid professional relationships, like any other type of relationship, requires a certain amount of vulnerability. It might mean talking to your boss about work-related stress and trusting that you are going to be heard and understood. It could mean talking to your boss, or colleagues, about what you need to be successful in that moment. It means you giving your colleagues what you can so that your team can be successful.

But more than vulnerability, one article I came across as I was doing research for this post was on Fairygodboss and talks about what you can do to build impactful relationships with your colleagues. According to them, the big secret to having a successful relationship with your colleagues is joining forces with them outside the office. I don’t mean just going out for happy hour after work, I actually mean engaging in your community with your coworkers.  I will admit that the process of community engagement does mean getting vulnerable. It means:

  • Discussing the importance of relationships and friendships and talking about how those relate to overall job satisfaction.
  • Getting down and dirty (but not like that) in one-on-one conversations with your colleagues about what it means for them to feel supported.
  • Having team conversations to brainstorm ways to develop relationships with your team
  • Create a structure to receive the information you need to feel comfortable sharing that information inside or outside the office.
  • Make a list (this is my favorite tip!) of 3-5 people you want to have a better relationship with. List the conversations you need to have to build a better relationship.

Professional relationships that are rewarding and encourage you to be your best self will make those 90,000 hours fly by!



Photo by Evelyn Paris on Unsplash


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