Most people spend more of their time at work and with their colleagues than they do with their actual family and friends outside of the business. It’s no wonder that we develop good relationships and friendships (sometimes even romantic in nature) at our workplace.

But sometimes those work relationships become such a burden that they weigh us down and prevent us from being able to focus on our career or family. How can you tell when a business relationship has become toxic for your life?

Does the relationship stray outside the 9-5 timeframe?

Sometimes this is all it takes. Some relationships simply must be kept business. And while the occasional business dinner is completely acceptable, there are some people that you work that should never cross the line between work and pleasure.

Are you sacrificing your goals for others’?

Many people find fulfillment and satisfaction in their careers. If that’s you and suddenly you find yourself making compromises in order to help a friend at work out, then the relationship has strayed too far outside of what you should be doing.

Do you find yourself dealing with a coworker’s problem more than your own work-related issues?

Some people need to bounce their problems off others in order to find a solution and that is completely acceptable. In fact, you may be one of those types! When this behavior becomes dangerous is when they start using your valuable time “on the clock” to have help sorting through their personal issues, rather than work-related problems.

Do you think your association with this colleague could get you into hot water?

Friendship on many levels of a company is typically not frowned upon; however, many companies have strict dating policies and will not allow employees and superiors to date one another. If you know that the relationship you are entering into blurs the line between what is appropriate and inappropriate, it is likely not a good idea.

Are you worrying more about this relationship than your job?

Chances are you have some lofty career goals and why shouldn’t you? You are a smart, savvy woman who deserves everything she gets! So if you catch yourself spending more time worrying about this business relationship than about your career, chances are, it’s only slowing you down and you should try to distance yourself from the person or party involved.


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From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller’s unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high-impact influence and let me know when I was being influenced in a way that didn’t serve me.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development - Lear Corporation – South Carolina