Fraternization is described in Wikipedia as “‘turning people into brothers‘- conducting social relations with people who are actually unrelated and/or of a different class (especially those with whom one works) as though they were siblings, family members, personal friends or lovers.”
In and of itself, fraternizing is a good thing. However, bad things can and do happen. Let’s explore -
After my divorce, I met this great guy who happened to have moved from North Carolina to Florida. He and I became “involved” and I was looking to start a fresh life out of the small town in Alabama in which I had lived most my life, so I took a job in the city in which he moved, packed my shit, and moved in with him. It all seemed fine, at the time.
I began my new job working in what appeared to be a great company, with great people and was off to a great start in building my new life, with this great guy. However, when he moved to Florida, he didn’t have a job but was in the process of looking for work. He found a temporary position in sales (you know, when you’re in sales you can pretty much find something). That position didn’t pan out though, and then one day it happened – probably around the dinner table.
“Do you think you could get me on where you work?”….. And to my demise, I agreed to go to the office manager and talk with her about hiring him for an inside sales position. The next thing I knew, we were commuting together, going to lunch together and then things got worse.
Due to the nature of my position (Executive Assistant to the President) I spoke with vendors on a daily basis (mostly men). Mr. X would walk into my office at different times of the day and ask, “Who was that you were talking to?”…. And of course this would make for a longggggggg drive home while playing twenty-questions. It was the WORST!
Somehow we had both managed to befriend the office manager and she was now all-up-in-our-business and quickly became our counselor (Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth from thinking about this). The next thing I knew, she and her boyfriend were double-dating with me and Mr. X.
This all turned out for the worst – as you can imagine. I finally decided that it was time to break up with Mr. X and Ms. Office Manager and I left the company and moved back to Alabama. So much for my new-found life.
My advice? Making friends at work to a point can be beneficial. Taking it outside and enjoying rounds of tequilla shots with working pals, well – that can be good too. But working with significant others in a place other than your own business, can turn into a frickin’ nightmare.
I’m all for having friends at work and creating a support of healthy emotional support in the workplace but we must set boundaries. And a word of advice – keep your love life business in the confines of your dwelling (home).
More on this subject at a later date! In the meantime, enjoy this piece on Office Taboo.