True friends stab you in the front – Oscar Wilde
Most of us are well aware of the old admonition about not going into business with friends. We know that once ego, money, and ambition get involved, friendship takes a hit.
But, this same reasoning often escapes us when we meet people through a business situation or contact. We have lunches with them, work as a team member on a project with them, or share office gossip with them (no, you wouldn’t!), and while we do so in the context of doing business, it begins to feel comfortable and familiar.
We may even take things a step further and vacation together, or share season tickets. Pretty soon, we bask in the mistaken impression that we have expanded our circle of friends. Wrong! In most cases, we have expanded our circle of contacts which, while not a bad thing, is just not the same thing as making new friends.
To be clear, I’m not saying that business associates are inherently bad for us. To the contrary, there is a mutual need for these relationships, in addition to close friendships, for networking, mentoring, and all around professional growth.
ALWAYS BE FRIENDLY, BUT CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY
We should always be friendly in our business interactions with others, but we need to choose our friends from an entirely different “pool.” There are plenty of places to find friends away from work including: online (with caution), clubs, through our religious affiliations, or through other friends in purely social situations.
MISTAKING BUSINESS ASSOCIATES FOR FRIENDS IS LIKE MISTAKING BOTTLED SALAD DRESSING FOR HOMEMADE
Just as with bottled salad dressing, we need to realize that with many friendships that begin at work:
We are enticed by “flavor enhancers” and “sugars” that work on our brain chemistry, giving us a temporary “happy place” that makes us believe we’ll get more from it than we will
When we indulge in it too often, we miss out on more sustaining fare
There’s only so much in the bottle, and when it’s gone, it’s gone
It has a relatively short shelf life, with a guaranteed expiration date
It must be purchased somehow. Repeat after me, “Quid pro quo”
REAL FRIENDSHIPS SHOULD BE “MADE FROM SCRATCH”
The truth is, business relationships can be extremely beneficial to our careers and our livelihood, but they usually can only provide so much. We need a variety of relationships in our lives, you could say we all need a relationship mix, and while occasionally, some relationships start off as a business relationship and later change into a close friendship or even marriage, for the most part, it’s just common sense to keep business relationships for business, and let true friendships occur organically, naturally, made from scratch, fresh, and homemade!
Please share your thoughts on the topic of friends versus associates in business, in the Comments section below.
In the meantime,
Bestest to all,