When you stop and think about it, you are spending more and more time working whether it’s typing or talking on your computer or smartphone, meeting with colleagues and clients/customers or just trying to get things done on time and on budget. If you work in an organization, you rarely work alone and are strongly encouraged to work closely and collaboratively as a member of one or more teams of people usually working on an intense, focused short-term initiative or a complex, multifaceted, long-term project. If you are an entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time servicing the needs of your existing clients/customers, looking for new clients/customers and growth opportunities and discovering ways to increase profits and decrease costs.
You spend a lot of time with colleagues and clients/customers. As you get to know these individuals, your relationship with them can shift from a strictly business relationship to a business relationship and a personal friendship or, in some cases, a business relationship and a romantic relationship. This can be a slow or speedy transition, however, it is important to remember that when business becomes personal it has both benefits and risks to your personal and professional lives.
When you work with colleagues who become friends, they will either generously help you be successful or selfishly waste your time and energy. You may be tempted to share personal and confidential information with them, however, remember they are also your colleague and it is important to define and maintain personal boundaries.
If you are an entrepreneur and you become friends with a client/colleague, they may expect that you will give them a discount or price break in the name of friendship. It is important to keep the business relationship separate from the personal friendship by defining and maintaining the boundary between what’s business and personal.
Finally, before embarking on a romantic relationship with a colleague or client/customer, take some time to think about how it will impact your working relationship if things work out well or if things do not work out well. You want to make sure that both of you can survive whatever happens to the relationship and that your reputation and professional status remain intact.