Preserving Friendships while Working Together

I work with my friends all the time. In the RPG world, and I’m sure this is the case in many worlds, it’s hard not to. If we have talented friends, and we’re working on something where such a friend is a good friend for a project, we’ll grab them for it.

That can, if you’re not careful, fuck friendships up. And on occasion, that’s happened with me. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re working with friends:

Keep communicating about not-work. You were probably friends for some reasons and communicated in some way before you started working together. Watch that your conversations don’t just revolve around the current job you’re doing.

Watch your shit-talk. We all shit-talk about people as a venting mechanism. (We all do, right?) If you’re doing far more of that than being happy with working with this person, it’s time to re-examine the working relationship before things go sour.

Be upfront about problems. Some of us have a tendency to cut our friends slack. Avoid that; doing that can build resentment as we don’t talk about the problems we have. And that just leads to explosive moments that wreck friendships. Related: be willing to talk about those problems, not just list them off and move on.

Watch the passive aggression. Especially on places like Twitter. (I’m not perfect at it, especially late at night when I’m tired, but I try.)

If you do get to the point where it’s time to call it quits when it comes to work: for fuck’s sake don’t do anything before the conversation’s over. If you do anything — tell other people you’re looking for a new person, contact coworkers to announce that person’s leaving, etc — before the conversations’ done, you’ve pretty much fucked any chance that the situation is salvageable from a friendly perspective.

– Ryan


2 Responses to Preserving Friendships while Working Together

  1. Andy says:

    Thanks for the tips; these are the common-sense bits that I suspect I wouldn’t have thought through before getting into this sort of situation. (I’ll probably be working on a project with a good friend of mine, so…)

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      That’s the thing about “common sense” stuff — it’s often so common that it’s easily forgotten about until it’s too late, since you’re not consciously thinking about it.

      (And why people continue to make money selling crappy magazine articles about what’s common sense.)

      – Ryan