Working with Girlfriends, Business AdviceSometimes, making new friends is easy – we slip into friendships and feel like we’ve known each other forever. Other times, becoming friends can be more of a challenge.

Add a professional situation in and the equation gets even more complicated! Guest blogger AMANDA DISILVESTRO shares her thoughts on getting to know, and becoming friends with, co-workers.

Many of us become friends with the people we work with. In some cases these become deep lasting friendship (more than just “work friends”), but sometimes we try too hard to form friendships and it goes wrong. As someone who once worked 40 hours per week with all men, I will admit that when a girl was hired to sit next to me I was excited. Sometimes I just need someone to talk about work with. My boyfriend at the time was polite and listed to my work stories, but let’s be honest — he had no idea what I was talking about.

The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it was a good idea to ask my new co-worker for drinks after work. Could this come off as odd? Furthermore, what if she wasn’t into office gossip (you know you do it!) and reported me to my boss? I have met plenty of people who feel this way, so my excitement suddenly turned to confusion. I wonder if this is how men feel when they ask out a girl…

I decided that girls need a plan of action when they’re considering asking a potential new friend out for drinks:

Three Rules to Follow before Making the “Drinks after Work” Date

  1. 1. Get to know her.

This may sound obvious, but I’ll admit I almost jumped the gun because I was so excited that a girl was finally working at my company. I decided that I first had to see if she was the type of person who I would want to get drinks with after work sometime. I think you can get to know someone at work by asking questions: How was your weekend? Do you have anything planned for tonight? Did you get stuck in traffic yesterday? Seems pretty basic, but the tone of voice and enthusiasm can tell you a lot about whether someone is looking for a friend or likes to keep to themselves.

  1. 2. See if she would be interested in going out for drinks without being too forward.

Although it might seem silly, it’s important that you don’t create an uncomfortable work environment for yourself. If you asked a girl out for drinks after work and she thought that was strange, you’re going to have to deal with that awkwardness every single day. Ask this potential girlfriend what she is doing tomorrow night, and invite her out with some of your other friends.

  1. 3. Keep it quiet.

There is no reason to publicize to the entire office that you are going out for drinks after work. This could make a new employee feel uncomfortable, so just keep it to yourself.

The bottom line is yes — it is completely okay to go for drinks with a co-worker after work. Nine times out of ten no one will think twice about it, but it is important to be courteous around the office. I would recommend keeping the office gossip to a minimum until you really get to know your co-worker, and don’t make things seem awkward by jumping the gun before you get to know her.

In the end, if someone is going to be your girlfriend, you can usually tell after just a few conversations. It doesn’t matter if she is a co-worker or you met in line for your favorite concert. As a side note, I ended up becoming great friends with my co-worker after going to drinks with her one night! It paid off for me and I’m sure it will pay off for you.

AMANDA DISILVESTRO is a writer on topics ranging from social media to 401k limits. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including credit card processing to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.

What do you think? Are you friends with coworkers? Would you go out for drinks together or do you keep professional relationships separate from your girlfriends?

More on work friendships:

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