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Whether you’re starting at a new office or getting used to new colleagues, it takes some skill to manage your relationships and enjoy your time at work. Here are five tips for finessing your time spent at work:


Between Friendship and Formality

Many employees can’t figure out how the heck to maintain a balance as they relate with their colleagues. On one hand we want to enjoy genuine friendships with the people we work with, on the other hand we don’t want to get into confrontations simply because we got too familiar.  You don’t want to be so official that you can’t bond with people like a warm blooded human being. You also don’t want to receive avoidable insults. The secret is to aspire to be respected by everyone you relate with, your boss included. If you sense that a person doesn’t respect you, then you need to pull back or face the consequences. Many people are constantly checking to see if their colleagues like or hate them, when the most important thing to check for is respect. Try to regulate the friendliness so that its temperature matches the mutual respect you have. It’s a fact that some of us don’t know how to naturally command respect but merely aspiring to enjoy mutual respect with everyone, makes all the difference.


Defending Yourself against Bullies

The proven systems we used for dealing with bullies when we were kids, doesn’t change when we encounter bullies in the work place. Just think how of how school bullies back down when their victims stand up to them and reject the abuse. It has been my experience that people don’t walk over you because you’re weak. They do it simply because they have a character flaw and they are allowed to get away with their bad behavior. So standing up to such folks usually keeps them in check and makes them respect you. They may seem scary but the truth is that they usually run away when you stand up for yourself.


The Scarcity Rule

It’s true that absence makes the heart fonder. While there are both genuine and silly reasons to spend extra hours in the office, you might want to make sure that you stick with the genuine ones. If you don’t have to be there, then don’t. It’s not unlike the person who comes early to the party and doesn’t leave till the DJ is packing up his equipment.  People need to get the vibe that you genuinely have things to do; you have a life. That fellow, who turns the office into his/her clubhouse, usually pays for it by losing respect. Go home!


Gossip isn’t very Gangsta

Resist the temptation at all costs. There will be those conversations about people who are not present, but you should stay out of such communication. Some people use gossip as a way to find common ground or bond over a mutual disdain for someone. Do that with your spouse when you get home. Gossiping is super unhealthy as it eats up your soul. Don’t forget that the stuff you say could come back to haunt you. In this day and age you could even get recorded saying something you are not meant to say. And if you find yourself in an office that has a gossip epidemic, know that you will earn a lot of respect by being the one person who opts out whenever there’s an opportunity to talk about someone who isn’t there.


Office Romance

Dating your colleagues never ends well, except of course you marry them. It has never worked for anyone and it certainly won’t work for you. Bosses who do it, end up poisoning the well because they have subordinates whom they cannot discipline. If you happen to be stuck in one of these colleague-on-colleague situations, then it’s time to review your dedication to your career; you may have gotten distracted and you just don’t know it. And yes, I say ‘stuck’ because a lot of people remain in them because they don’t want to create a bad atmosphere by breaking up.


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