taking it off-line…

15 Apr

Despite the gazillion ways to remain connected, I still feel compelled to invite friends and colleagues for a friendly cuppa. Just call me ol’ fashioned.

Socializing is an innate part of that process of dare I say…‘networking.’ And though the term has been ridiculously thrown around in our business – it doesn’t always come naturally to people, myself included. It all seems to be a vital part of that social milieu – and is becoming increasingly easier with technology.

So when is it appropriate to move it from online – off-line? Surely, there has to be an off-line moment, where you eventually meet and introduce yourself to person you’ve been e-mailing to, commenting-on, right?

Is asking a colleague for coffee/tea ever inappropriate? I would exercise some discretion – but what’s the most polite, ‘non-schmoozy’ way to establish meaningful relationships with colleagues, without over-stepping boundaries?

Remembering that first impressions are irretrievable…

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6 Responses to “taking it off-line…”

  1. Jo. Chen April 16, 2008 at '3:33' #

    Wow I am having the same dilemma. I was told to always keep relationships with people at work strictly professional (i.e., no going shopping together outside the office) and that you can never truly be friends with you manager. Why? Because there will eventually come a time when you may have to make a crucial decision that could affect your colleague and likewise with your manager. Friendships in the office are nice, but at the end of the day, the work is really what counts. This isn’t to say there is no room for friendships at all. Some places really have a knack for balancing business and social bonding. I am struggling to find this balance because I am the quiet, working a bit too hard, type of person who limits social talk to the weather and fashion and “how is your day?” kind of questions. It all makes me seem one-dimensional robot who can’t develop real relationships with people. I am capable of building relationships, but at work, I find myself a bit of the oddball out. I am slowly trying to get out of my shell and have the odd conversation with others. The odd jaunt to the food court with a colleague is cool, but beyond that, I can’t say I do anything else. Am I wrong?

  2. Rayanne Langdon April 16, 2008 at '23:28' #

    I have a slightly different view than Jessie. I see nothing wrong with approaching work-related relationships in the same way you’d interact with friends. I think–especially in our field–it’s completely acceptable to see co-workers as more than colleagues.

    As Gary has mentioned several times (and as I’ve lived it!), social media junkies spend quite a bit of time socializing offline. PodCamp, MESH, Third Tuesday, etc. We can’t seem to get enough of getting together to talk about what huge nerds we are. Life is good.

    Now, I don’t really know how to ask someone for coffee or tea because it comes off a little date-like. Haha. But, I’ll keep my eyes peeled on this discussion because I love going for coffee with anybody and everybody!

  3. Stuart April 17, 2008 at '10:27' #

    Hi Staffeen

    I have a young female friend who is dating a guy a few years older than her in her office. Although only in it’s infancy, the relationship is already under pressure due to his unwillingness for others to know that they are seeing each other. This has put her in a difficult spot with prying people who really should be minding their own business. Not being the assertive type she feels unable to tell them it’s none of their affair.

    I find this attitude slightly strange. It’s well-documented that many people find their partners through their work environment and it should hardly be a surprise that people who spend so much time with each other by necessity end up being more involved with each other, either socially or romantically.

    Speaking for myself I have made many great friends through work and University over the years. Probably the vast majority of my good friends in fact.

  4. staffeen thompson April 18, 2008 at '1:02' #

    Thank you everyone, for your comments.

    JC – Not wrong, just very cautious. And I don’t think you need to be. We spend such a large portion of our lives at work, and often work flows into our personal times, it’s natural to become friends with colleagues. Don’t worry about opening up a little, I’d say. I’m sure it’ll make your environment more enjoyable!

    Rayanne – I find the initial conversation moving from online to off-line, is interesting. But interesting in a positive way, it’s expanding networks and building on those ‘social networks,’ making them a reality. And I’m glad to hear that the notion of meeting our strictly online PR colleagues is more of natural occurrence through other events. It’s a must. I can’t imagine it ALL ending with a blog. Oh…and nerds eh…well as long as we all feel that way! lol

    Stuart – Tricky those office romances. That’s definitely another blog topic, I think! I’m going to save that one. 🙂 But agreed, it’s inevitable that we may become good friends with our colleagues. Thanks for posting. 🙂

  5. chipper HO April 21, 2008 at '17:05' #

    i didnt fully read this…
    but staffeen…
    i look forward to many many coffees/hot chocolates with you in the future…

  6. staffeen thompson April 21, 2008 at '23:01' #

    So sweet, I look forward to the same…:)

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