Office politics and female friendships: two tricky situations to navigate on their own at times and definitely require some effort and purposeful management when combined. Working in a female office environment can be very rewarding. You build camaraderie together and have a strong support system. Often this work relationship begins to translate into an out of the office friendship. You know personal details of each other’s lives and end up becoming a sort of office sisterhood, helping each other out on projects, grabbing coffee on breaks, and building a true bond.
However, sometimes working with a team of girls can bring out the middle schooler in all of us. People get cliquey, catty, and gossip beyond the mundane water cooler topics and into nasty territory.
So how do you work with a group of women and keep it from turning into Mean Girls antics or Paris trip stealing drama a la The Devil Wears Prada?
Remember you are in your place of business
You are here to do your job, not to socialize. Having friends at work is a perk, but focus on being an excellent employee and don’t engage in office gossip and drama.
Be friendly to everyone
Of course you probably click better with some people on your team, but make sure to be friendly and socialize with everyone. A few quick pleasantries will help you foster and maintain good working relationships with everyone on your team. It will also ensure that no one feels left out, which keeps a lot of drama from forming.
Invite the whole team to birthday lunches, celebratory happy hours, and the like. Some people may choose not to come, but it will be clear that you have a group dynamic in mind and alleviate any potential drama.
Don’t draw attention for being part of a group of girls at work above your own individual talents and skills. You want the leadership at your company to view you as an individual. Work with your friends as is appropriate, but make sure you have your own identity as well.
Take your coffee breaks outside
Don’t rehash last night’s Bachelor episode or blind date in the break room for all to hear. Plan to grab lunch with your girlfriend outside of the office on days you need to vent or catch up. This ensures the other people on your team aren’t awkwardly over-hearing about your personal life.
Overall, you can keep it positive and friendly with your female co-workers by being professional, respectful, inclusive, and aware of your office behaviors and how they are perceived by others.
What do you do to handle your office environment?
Ask Kate White how she handled working with the women in her office!