Relationships are what makes the world go round. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, “love and belonging” is right in the middle. We all need intimacy and connections. This can be through friends, family, or significant others. It may even include co-workers who bring about a sense of belonging on the job.
Here’s the secret though: the key to any relationship is open communication. In order to have positive interactions with those around you, you have to be willing to communicate. Openness and honesty go a long way in building healthy connections. You have to be willing to share a bit of who you are, how you feel, and what makes you tick. You have to be able to talk through issues and come up with compromises.
On top of communication, you also need trust. You have to trust that the other person will be honest, and that they can be vulnerable with you – even if only a bit. You have to be able to take someone at their word. If you don’t trust a person, you’ll never allow yourself to be open with them.
Connections at work are just as important as those out in “the real world.” We need to feel included, which means that we need to be able to talk to people. Find someone with whom you can relate and create a sense of emotional safety. You don’t have to confess your deepest, darkest secrets, but let them get a glimpse into who you are. Having these connections will help bring about camaraderie on the job, making teamwork easier to achieve. Once you have fostered healthy relationships at the office, you will find yourself seeing work as less of a hassle and chore; you will see it as a place to build bonds.
On a side note: make sure that your healthy relationships at work are also appropriate! Romantic relationships on the job can cause problems for everyone involved, even resulting in termination. Create friendships and relationships that can benefit you, not hurt you.