It is very easy for the lines of professional and personal relationships to get blurred. Here are a few tips to maintaining a healthy relationship in your professional network.
Set the tone of your relationship. A professional relationship is professional and a personal relationship is personal. With the except few of power couples or relationships in the workplace, the tone should be immediately set (i.e no flirting or insinuations).
Create Boundaries. Know the limits of how far a professional relationship should go. Grabbing after work drinks and dinner with your colleagues or business partner is okay but developing a romantic relationship in the workplace can become messy.
Never let your guards down. It is okay to build a genuine friendship with a mentor, business partner, or colleague but always remember the true purpose of the relationship. Becoming too comfortable will easily cause the lines to be blurred and you want to remain focused on the intent of the relationship.
Don’t forget who’s BOSS (or your superior, or the expert) The list can go on and on but keep in mind, most professional relationships are developed with one thing in mind. Opportunity. Therefore, if you create a relationship with a superior or someone you can learn from, be a student and allow them to teach.
Let it LAST. Sometimes (well, most times) we enter a relationship for our own benefits. Do not only be an opportunist but build a genuine relationship that will actually last a lifetime. That means following up, checking in, or just saying hello. No one wants to feel used.