The Work Love Triangle
Relationships in the workplace can disrupt the flow of work. If you just broke up with that guy from two rows over, there's likely to be some drama. It's better if you keep your workplace relationships strictly professional. You can be friends with people, but don't take it beyond friendship. Here's how to keep work relationships on a business level:
Keep Your Nose Clean
Stay out of workplace gossip. There is always going to be a story floating around, but don't get into it. Gossiping about people in the workplace can only come back to hurt you in the end. Gossip is not generally thought of as a good thing anyway, so why would you want to participate in it? Guaranteed the higher-ups don't stick there nose (or neck) out by gossiping about the people they work with, so follow their example and stay out of the small back-biting type talk.
Be a Professional
What does it mean to be a professional? It means to take your work seriously, to be friendly but not flirtatious, and to follow through on what you say you are going to do. The most important part of that, as far as relationships go is to be friendly, but not flirtatious. You can be friends with people without stirring romantic interests if you act like a professional in all your dealings with them. Flirting will not move you up the ladder no matter how good you are at it. If you move up the workplace by flirtation and relationships, you will eventually fall back down again. Be a professional and keep things above board when it comes to dealing with people you work with and for. When your relationships with others get in the way of your work (like you are chatting so much with the guy next to you that your forget to do something the boss asked for) then you know you have blurred the lines of professionalism and relationships.
Keep Private Things Private
You will probably go to lunch with your co-workers on occasion or see them in the break room. You will probably chit-chat with others around you as you work. They key to keep your work relationships strictly professional is to keep the private things in your life private. Your co-workers don't need to know the details of your life and you probably don't want them to, so keep it to yourself. You want to be friends with people, but you don't want to give them leverage to use and abuse you. There is always someone in the workplace that is looking to get ahead. They are information gatherers and will use anything they hear to get one step ahead of the crowd. It is better for you not to give them anything, but remain friendly.
Know Your Boundaries
There are things that are taboo in the workplace, like sleeping with your boss. Know your boundaries and stick to your values. Your work ethic and professionalism is what will truly propel you forward to get what you want. You will like the people you work with and they will like you, just don't move beyond that. Know your boundaries and your limitations. If someone in the workplace starts to push beyond the establishment of friends, don't be afraid to stand up and say no. Don't let work relationships get in the way of your dreams and aspirations. That may sound cold, but really, you will look back on your decisions later and regret them if you don't take a stand now.