Friendship or Professionalism? 

I had an interesting conversation with few colleagues and also few friends who are not colleagues about this topic.  Have classified them into 7 scenarios or characteristics.. 

  1. One of my very jovial friend, she said she doesn’t even have a single friend at office, she doesn’t take an effort to bring the other side of her at work, simply because she said “it’s not needed. Becoming friends and working with them in same team, then falling into politics – it’s complicated. So, I go, work and then come back”. 
  2. On the other hand, I have a friend at work who happily shared with me that,”all these while I was working in the team, worked well and with passion. I think after getting a friend, the energy and excitement to work is increasing 🙂 it feels very good to have a friend at work”.
  3. My husband who has very good friends at work, who has a good team and gels well with each other, ensures that work friends and personal life is not combined, so he never brings his work friends home or mix both, somewhere I admire that quality (thou I don’t think I would follow it)  
  4. I had a colleague reporting to me who was the only guy in the team and we both were a very good team. He was very junior,  a big support at work, a good team member who never hesitates to take orders, who asks for guidance and who also is a nice friend to my son and me 🙂
  5. Vidya – a very important person to mention.. Was my colleague seated in same building and we inspired each other at work, we are completely different characters and slowly we became friends, more like sisters. And after 4 years, today we are not in the same work station not the same project but as friends, more like family. There is never a family occasion  we miss. 
  6. A recent experience  I noticed was when an aspirational new member joins the team and we assume to be friends to help him. And sometimes the help is not received the right way. However the aspirational member doesn’t want friendship but professionalism and feel of ownership at tasks. So, neither of the stakeholders were  wrong, just the clarity on what was need for the hour was a mismatch.
  7. A friend of mine faced a major depression due to work issue recently. Her friend at work and herself had a chat conversation about an issue and of course about people at work. After a few situational twist, the screenshot of chat was shared by the friend and entire blame was on her head. I am shaken by the way she is undergoing such a depression. 

Now I am sure all of us would be able to relate to any one of more situations mentioned above.  You might have experienced “u need a friend at work” advice or ” u need to be more professional” advice. While the advice is very valid, applying the advice without changing the YOU element is very important.  
To get more friends, introverts trying to become extroverts will end up in trouble. I have seen few people consciously trying to  crack a joke which will be the awkward moment of the day. Instead, embrace the ones who are genuinely nice to you. While you enjoy the seriousness, try to enjoy the little smiles, a morning wish, a tea time together. Work friendship doesn’t have to go beyond that. But having such a companion at work, makes it more interesting. I had been at a workstation for 1 full year without a friend and I have experienced the difference. It also improves effectiveness at work. Positive energy is something that spreads right 🙂 

On the other hand, extroverts are people who directly gets into friendship, while you do so., try to streamline work as work. Any work related communication has to be only handled via emails and official records. Because there is an office whatsapp group, you can’t communicate about next day meeting or disturb a colleague after office hours on whatsapp since she is online.  Having said that, the charm of enjoying a work friendship can always be there, without any emotional friendship attached. The common mistake that happens is when a very senior colleague will be considered as a father like or mother like person. I have seen harassment cases where the victim says “the extra friendship was there because he was like a father to me.. And he misused it”  
Similarly, when a fresher will be treated like a kid, they come with a lot of ambitious prestigious feel and they might enjoy the pampered treatment.

So work friendship is definitely a nice thing to have, a motivation, which has positive effects on team synergy. However.. It has to be With no strings attached, with lots of professionaliam and not a mandatory element to force yourself  🙂
After all, what you carry when you leave the project is not just your rating and band, but the true networks you have established. However it is important not to carry any negative impression on behavioral side

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