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I have a great job, which I love. I’ve only been here about one year, but already I’m very successful and well-liked. One of my girlfriends was recently laid off and plans to apply for a job at my company. The problem is that I don’t really want her to work at the same place I do. She’d probably do a good job, but what if she doesn’t? People would know we’re friends and that might reflect badly on me. Also, she has a real outgoing, “quirky” personality, which is one of the reasons I like her as a friend. But she rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I want to be a good friend, but I don’t want her to ruin things for me at work. What should I do?
A.It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to risk your own success or your image at work. And it’s true that some people may view you differently when they see who some of your friends are. But I say, who cares? You are who you are – successful, well-liked, and with a quirky friend or two. Your work will continue to be the criteria on which you are evaluated. The only problem I see might be your friend’s expectations for your relationship with her. I would have a frank talk with her and arrive at a clear understanding about the differences between your work and social relationships. You’ll both need to establish clear boundaries – boundaries that will be very different at work. For example, you may not want to bring any discussions about what you did over the weekend into the workplace or talk about work after hours. You might not want her to assume that you’ll take breaks or lunch together. And it may be that, if you see each other at work daily, you may not want to spend as much time together outside of work as you did before. The bottom line is, if there is a risk in this situation, it’s not to your job, it’s to your relationship with your friend. But if you talk with her about that beforehand, there shouldn’t be any surprises.