Do you have a work spouse?


Take this test to see if your close coworker relationship mirrors a real marriage.

A recent survey revealed that one in 10 workers felt they had a work spouse, a coworker of the opposite sex with whom they had a platonic relationship. The same survey showed that 20 percent of workers polled indicated that their real-life spouse was jealous of their workplace counterpart. Find out if you have a work spouse by answering these seven questions. Then see how to manage work marriages.

Do you have a work spouse?

    1. Do you two share private jokes?

    2. Do you finish each other's sentences?

    3. Do you depend on each other for supplies, snacks, and aspirin?

    4. Do you know how the other takes his or her coffee and vice versa?

    5. Are you bluntly honest with each other about appearances and hygiene?

    6. When something big happens at work, do you seek each other out first for a de-briefing?

    7. Do you know almost as much about each other's personal lives as your best friends or real-life spouses do?

If you answered yes to all of the above, congratulations, you have a work spouse. Now find out how to manage your work marriage.

For better and worse

When you work side-by-side, day-in and day-out with someone, you're bound to develop a strong bond. And why shouldn't you? There are tons of benefits both personal and professional to having a good friend next to you on the job. For one, you have built-in emotional support during challenging workdays. And two, when you “get” someone, you're more likely to work more productively together. You know each other's strengths and can build off that. Having a good work friend can really help you. But it can have its drawbacks. For example, other coworkers may misinterpret your close relationship, making it a catalyst for personal and professional disagreements. Plus, it can create issues in your real-life marriage. To avoid strife, stick to these three simple tips.

    Save the drama: Keep conversation airy. Avoid bringing up home problems, and never drag your spouse into the middle of your personal issues.

    Welcome others: Your close relationship may unintentionally be isolating other coworkers. Make a point to invite others into your conversations and you'll avoid rumors and being labeled as a clique.

    Set boundaries: You'll tell each other when your zippers are down, so don't be afraid to tell each other when you need some time apart. Like all married couples, you may love each other, but you still need some breathing space now and then.

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