We all enjoy having workplace friendships, or as Gen Z calls them – ‘work besties’. These are folks that you can rant, gossip, and have inside jokes with. In today’s increasingly competitive world, we need to figure out how to manoeuvre such friendships, because when they start affecting our personal lives, things can go sour.

The right set of work friends can provide you with some much needed respite, and the wrong ones, well,  we’ll get into that too. Of course, it is hard to build meaningful connections at work, yet research shows that having a ‘work bestie’ can make your work environment healthier, happier, and more productive. To delve deeper into forming workplace allies, you can check out this article. In this article, we cover how you should navigate the sometimes-tricky world of workplace friendships using business communication. So, let’s get into it.

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1. Friends with boundaries

You might have heard of the phrase ‘don’t overshare’, and this is the first golden rule when navigating boundaries in the workplace. Discussing the latest Netflix show or your plans for the weekend is all good. However, venting about workplace issues or the company may stir up some unneeded drama that we’re trying to avoid. Don’t assume that your work buddy is your confidant and will not use the information that you share against you.

It may seem very tempting to trash-talk your boss and peers at times, but this could severely affect your reputation and paint you in a negative light. Your work ‘friends’ might just be trying to get you to say something that will get them a promotion over you. Overstepping your boundaries can cause miscommunication and lead to unnecessary tensions. Along the same lines, don’t pressure your work friends into discussing personal issues with you as well; avoid being nosy.

2. Managing your boss and coworkers

The only secret to ensuring a healthy and productive workplace environment is knowing how to manage your boss and coworkers. A great way to manage your boss is to learn their management style and make sure that your communication with them fits that style. Next, staying goal-oriented will help you realise that your work friendships may not last outside the workplace, and that is okay. Set new goals, involve yourself in work activities, and increase your earning potential over time.

Clarifying the lines of communication in case of misunderstandings is key to avoiding them in the future. Have an open line of communication with your colleagues or your manager, and also remember to keep things professional. You can do this by establishing a communication plan. Regularly schedule meetings or roundtable discussions to get the conversation flowing, where everyone can address their expectations and concerns. Keep in mind that your goal is to restore your reputation, reestablish ground rules, and avoid such misunderstandings. Finding it tough to manage competitive workplace friendships? Take a look at this article here on how to deal with them.

3. Good and bad communication

A few examples of bad communication that must be avoided in the workplace include passive-aggressive communication, intimidation, playing the blame game, and failing to listen to your colleagues. These result in a tense environment at work, which is not at all conducive to collaboration and can harm productivity. Instead, a few ways to positively communicate include participating in the conversation and paying attention to non-verbal cues. This can be challenging if you are an introvert, but - worry not- this introvert’s guide to navigating the workplace can help.

When it comes to settling disputes at work, clear communication with the parties involved is key. Start by clarifying the source of your conflict and allow everyone to communicate their side. Agreeing on the best solution might not always be a win-win for both parties, but it is important to find a common ground and decide on how a similar situation can be resolved in the future. A good tip to remember is applying the 7 Cs of business communication: clarity, correctness, conciseness, courtesy, concreteness, consideration, and completeness.

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