There’s an age-old debate between work relationships and personal relationships, namely, which ones are more important? On one hand, a personal relationship can lead to marriage, kids and then, probably, divorce – y’know, the big three. However, across your life, you’ll spend more time with your colleagues than you will your kids and divorce lawyer combined…
So we’ve settled on: ‘work relationships are pretty dang important’ and having a nemesis in the workplace can make your job buckets more stressful then it actually needs to be. Taking long routes to the kitchen and timing your toilet breaks isn’t worth the effort to avoid an awkward encounter.
Like Blu-Tack, relationships never entirely break. They just either fall apart, morph into weird blobs or get stuck in unhelpful places.
Luckily, with enough grit, you can fix even the most damaged professional relationships. It doesn’t matter who upset who or who’s desk chair flew down what staircase – what’s important now is moving forward.
So what’s the play here? Wait to be forgiven/forget what you were mad about in the first place? Absolutely not! You have to take action for the sake of your workplace sanity.
The US News career centre say to first acknowledge the problem and visualise the alternative. It stresses to remember that this relationship doesn’t have to be a friendship. You just have to be friendly enough with a person to be polite, civil and productive.
Another great tip is to be consistent with your behaviour. As playground politics has proven time and time again, saying “sorry” and running away is never the solution. Rebuilding trust takes time and, providing both parties are making an effort, the situation will gradually improve.
Once you’ve made some headway with the work relationship, the key is to establish boundaries. Spot what made you hate this person/this person hate you in the first place and set some invisible boundaries to avoid spiralling back into that situation.
Swallow your pride and start to make amends with your nemesis, even if you were the one that was wronged.
Just to make this extra cheesy, here’s a Confucius quote to book-end the whole fable: “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it” – it was this or that Justin Bieber song, sorry.