While a work spouse is great fun, it’s important to learn those unwritten work spouse rules that both parties should stick to and ensure the friendship is a lasting and successful one, and that everyone remains on the same page.
What is a work spouse?
Having a work spouse can be lots of fun and brighten up an otherwise dull day in the office. A work spouse is someone who works with you and with whom you have a close relationship. The relationship isn’t physical, though can get flirty at times. They act more like your favorite person in the office who you rely on and spend most of your time with.
Lots of people have a work spouse, because we spend so much time with the same group of people day in, day out. At work, we find those we get on with best and gravitate towards them. People spend on average around 40 hours a week at work. Forming close friendships and bonds makes a real difference to the enjoyment of being at work, makes the time pass more quickly, and generally makes you feel more positive and motivated in your job.
When close friendships form between members of the opposite sex, especially ones who see each other every day, things can become a little confusing. It’s important to understand what’s okay and what’s not, especially in the workplace, and even more so if your real spouse is waiting for you at home! [Read: How to make friends who want to stay platonic]
Work spouse rules you must follow
A friendship at work that turns sour can be extremely distressing and make life very difficult for you. It turns what was a fun and pleasant atmosphere into somewhere you just don’t want to be! Learning the work spouse rules and sticking to them makes sure this doesn’t happen for you.
First, identify whether you might have a work spouse. Usually a work spouse is someone you depend upon, whether that’s for important advice or sharing coffee! You spend your breaks with them, confide in them, spend time outside work with them, share jokes just the two of you get, be really honest with them, and they know loads about your personal life too.
Sound familiar? Then, you probably have a work spouse! So, what exactly are these work spouse rules you should stick to? Let’s take a look at them.
#1 Make sure you are clear from the outset. If you feel yourself getting close to someone of the opposite sex at work, that’s fine. But making sure you are clear about what kind of friendship you look for ensures you are both on the same page from the outset. If you aren’t or you hide the fact you are already in a relationship, this leads to confusion, misread signals, and hurt feelings. [Read: 10 crucial steps for setting healthy boundaries]
#2 Don’t shut out your co-workers. Try not to be too exclusive with your work spouse. While it’s fine to get on better with some people than others, if you don’t make an effort to talk to any of your other colleagues and spend every minute of the work day with your work spouse you’ll soon become the subject of office gossip. Perhaps you will miss out on having a more fulfilling social life too. [Read: How to handle a coworker crush like an adult]
#3 Set boundaries and stick to them. You know what kind of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. What your partner at home tolerates and what they would be hurt or angered by is only something you know. Set clear boundaries and make sure you keep them. It’s a good idea to communicate these to your work spouse as well. Try and do this early on so there is no confusion.
#4 Keep it light, and don’t bring them into complicated home life situations. You shouldn’t really bring too much of your personal life into the workplace. No matter how close you feel to your work spouse. If you end up telling them every last detail about your real relationship, this could be crossing a line.
There is nothing wrong with bonding, but try to keep it light and fun. Have other friends outside work to rely on for the deep and meaningful stuff.
#5 Don’t spend too much time alone. If you and your work spouse always sneak off together you set tongues wagging. Socialize as a group too!
#6 Don’t flirt. A work spouse is a friend. It’s important to recognize that and don’t blur the lines. It can be nice to get the attention of someone other than your partner, but by flirting with your work spouse you give off signals you shouldn’t. It potentially leads to somewhere pretty dangerous. [Read: How to have a perfectly platonic relationship]
#7 Talk about your real partner and introduce them to one another. If your work spouse and your partner know each other, this makes life easier and also keeps those boundaries really clear.
#8 If feelings develop, create some distance. Spending so much time with a person who you really like can lead to feelings developing which can be very confusing. If you feel as though you developed feelings for your work spouse, give yourself a breather. Really question what you want.
#9 Don’t talk too much about your work spouse at home. It’s pretty annoying for your real partner to hear you bang on about how great someone else is all the time. So, try and keep your praise to a minimum! [Read: 18 signs you’re emotionally attached to your work spouse and don’t know it]
#10 Avoid alcohol. It’s fine to enjoy some after-work drinks from time to time, but getting really drunk together could lead to lines being crossed. Then, there is no going back!
#11 Keep your relationship drama free. A work spouse shouldn’t be someone you have a big dramatic relationship with, nor should it be too intense. Keep drama out of your working friendships. [Read: 14 platonic rules to just be friends minus the drama]
#12 Make sure your relationship develops for the right reasons. If you find yourself getting really close to someone at work if is a good idea to just check in with yourself and make sure it’s just because you enjoy their company and makes your working days a bit more fun. If it’s because things aren’t right in your relationship at home then you need to address this. Don’t use your work spouse as a way of fixing things or gaining some relief.
By following the tips above you make sure you keep a healthy work spouse relationship, while not affecting your real relationship back home.
[Read: 10 ways to keep flirting at work harmlessly innocent and fun]
There is no problem with having a work spouse. In fact, there can be lots of benefits, but if you question your motives or feel guilty about the way you behave, it might be time to take a step back and use these work spouse rules!
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