HUMAN RESOURCES / APR. 15, 2014
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How to Maintain Friendships with Old Coworkers

After receiving a job offer with a new company, you might welcome the chance to take advantage of a better opportunity. If you're moving up the corporate ladder, this offer can result in more challenging assignments and perhaps a higher salary.

But if you've been with your present employer for many years, and if you've enjoyed a good working relationship with your coworkers, leaving the company might be bittersweet 

On one hand, you're ready for a new adventure. But on the other hand, you'll miss daily interactions with your colleagues. 

There is no rule that says you have to lose touch with your old coworkers. However, there's truth behind the expression, "out of sight, out of mind." And if you didn't socialize with your coworkers outside the office prior to switching companies, there's a chance that you'll drift apart. This is especially true if you have different friends outside the office. 

Changing companies doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice long-term friendships with your coworkers. It might take some effort, but you can maintain these relationships.  

1. Schedule Monthly Lunch Dates

Before leaving your old company, you may resolve to get together with your coworkers on the weekends. But if you have a family, your own friends or other obligations on the weekends, this is much easier to say than do. However, it might be easier to get together for lunch, especially if going out to lunch was your normal routine.

If your new office is relatively close to your old office, plan lunch dates on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. It might only be an hour of your time, but a lunch date can provide just enough time to catch up on each other's lives and maintain your friendship. If you can't meet for lunch, grab a drink after hours.

2. Send Cards Throughout the Year

As you settle into your new work life and schedule, it might be weeks or months since you last spoke with an old coworker. And in all honesty, if you take a job in another city or state, it might be difficult (or impossible) to squeeze in a phone conversation or lunch date. The longer the two of you go between conversations, the harder it'll be to maintain any type of friendship. 

If you can't get together, at least let this person know that you're thinking about him. Get into a routine of sending your friend cards to celebrate his life events. This might include a graduation, an anniversary, a birthday or a promotion. 

3. Harness the Power of Social Media

Despite the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, some people haven't jumped on the social media bandwagon. But even if you're not a big social media fan, there's no denying the usefulness of both platforms. 

The Internet makes it easier to stay connected, especially if there's physical distance between the two of you. Not only can you stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in each other lives, you can post or comment on each other's page on your breaks throughout the work day and share jokes, experiences or simply vent -- as if you never stopped working together. 

4. Don't Brag About Your Success

There is a delicate line between excitement and bragging. If you left your old job for a much better opportunity, your old coworker will no doubt celebrate your success. But if you want to maintain a close friendship with this person, don't become a braggart, and don't talk badly about your old company or coworkers.

If you get together with an old coworker, yet you spend the entire time tooting your own horn or showing off, this behavior can drive a wedge between the relationship. 

How have you been able to maintain friendships with old coworkers? Please let us know in the comments below.

 

Image Credit [Flickr]

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