Yesterday’s post addressed the required behaviors for acting kind toward someone in a social situation. Now let’s move onto the workplace. After all, you do interact with co-workers much more simply because of the amount of time spent with them. What’s really appropriate when it comes to socializing in the workplace? What’s the difference between friendly, cordial and civil? First off accept the fact that you won’t be best friends with everyone you work with. Sure you may gravitate toward a few people, whatever comes naturally is fine. Forcing yourself to become close with everyone at work is just unnecessary. It doesn’t make you appear like any less of a team player if you aren’t out at drinks on a Saturday night with the office crew. If you happen to click with them great, if not, maintaining that civil or cordial relationship is perfectly fine. In fact, avoiding participating in too many extra curricular activities with co-workers can eliminate unnecessary office drama. As much as we want to tell ourselves the weekend (or office party) doesn’t carry through to the office, that off color remark you made after a few too many martini’s Saturday night will be discussed on Monday morning. So what does cordial or civil look like in the office? Well cordial is that step below friendly. Lets use Jake, your example co-worker, to illustrate the scenarios. Jake works in the cubicle next to you. He’s a nice guy, has a pleasant disposition but for whatever reason there isn’t much blossoming in terms of a friendship with you two. Chances are you don’t know too much about the details of his life. You don’t want to appear completely disinterested in him though, so greeting him “hello, hi or hey” and “asking how are you?”, or “did you have a good weekend?” shows enough effort for the interaction to be considered cordial. So long as you have no problem with Jake, making this small but considerate effort works well in this scenario. Now let’s go onto civil. Civil has a different feel to it, because this is for a co-worker who irritates you, or you wish didn’t work there at all. Displaying your true feelings about this person (we’ll call him Rick) will only bring about negative consequences, so how do you remain true to your feelings without causing drama? The answer is to keep interactions neutral. When you see Rick in the hall, a simple “hello,” a wave or a head nod will do. If you have to ask Rick a question about a work related issue be pleasant about it. Don’t allow your disdain for this person to seep out. It will only benefit you in the long run to keep your emotions tempered when it comes to Rick; just keep the interactions as limited as possible. Socializing at work or in any forum should be genuinely enjoyable. There’s no need to pretend to like someone more than you actually do. As long as your behavior stays in the positive zone, you’re doing just fine in the sandbox of life.