Male Female After Work Relationships

After work relationships can be fun and tricky. Even more so when you are the only female/male in the group.

Going out for coffee or a drink after work with your co-workers can be relaxing–it is also an opportunity to get to know each other away from the office.  Depending on who is present, you may still want to treat it as an extension of your job, especially if the drinks are on the company’s dime.

Considering the number of hours you spend with your coworkers, it’s common for social groups to form.  Introducing an “intruder” changes the dynamics especially if this particular social circle is made up of the same sex.  

Q:  After work, a few of us like to go to a local bar to unwind.  We’re all guys, by the way.  Recently, a woman from another department joined us–which was fine.  And then again, and again. The problem is that she assumes that she’s automatically invited. We don’t mind anyone joining us from time to time, however, our conversations can’t be as free-flowing  when a female is present.  Once in awhile, we’d like a “female-free” night out.  What should we do?

A:  This situation can become sticky being that it is somewhat work-related.  If this female co-worker feels shunned, you may have a law suit on your hands or a mandated sensitivity training. Here are a few options to consider:

1)  You could casually pop by her office and simple say, “We’ll catch you next time, making this a guys-night-out.  Have a great evening.” and walk away.

2)  You could change locations without telling her. (Not nice or professional; and only a temporary solution.)

3)  You and a third party could take her to lunch and tactfully explain that the group is tight-knit, but would be happy to include her from time to time.

4) You and a few of the others could invite her to lunch; keeping the relationship “at work.”

5)  Check your company policies and procedures manual.  There could be a clause about exclusion.  Increasingly, there are articles pointing out the unique dilemmas that male female workplace relationships pose.

My take:  It can be difficult to infiltrate an established social circle, but not impossible. Ask yourself this:

  1. Why that group?  Is it to make some politically-motivated point?  = Not a wise career move. Find another group where you don’t have to stir up trouble.
  2. Am I not taking a hint? = Not all groups are a good fit. Cliques are detrimental to your career.
  3. Form relationships with people from all different departments. = That is a wise career move.

In my book, “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom,” I address cliquey relationships in the workplace and what message it sends to management.

Helping businesses and individuals find success through better communication and social skills. 

social skills, communication, soft skillsRosalinda Oropeza Randall, Social Skills and Civility Presenter, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”

She also offers customized presentations geared for specific audiences including: Startups, IT Professionals, Service Professionals, Sales Professionals, New Hires, Millennials, and an entire series for College and University students and athletes moving from the classroom into the workplace.. For more information, please contact me. 650.871.6200.