Journaling Through Relationships: At Work 4

WHAT IS THE NATURE and quality of your relationships with managers, colleagues, and clients? Do you have friendships with the people you work with? Do you get together with them outside the office, or are your work and personal lives kept separate?

These are a few of the questions we’ll ask as we explore the value and meaning of our professional relationships.

How we relate to people at work can make the difference between having a satisfying or torturous job. How many times have you heard someone say that they love their job because of the people they work with? Conversely what about the people who say they like their work, but their boss or coworkers make them dread going to work each day? What about you? Have you ever been in either of these situations?

The thing about work — whether you go to an office, retail center, or construction site — is that you’re not in control of who you have to interact with.  There are people you naturally gravitate toward and others who grate on your nerves. Dealing with those “difficult” people can be challenging, especially if they criticize you or otherwise undermine your contribution. But deal with them you must, or risk developing higher and higher stress levels.

And because we spend so many hours around these people, friends or not, it’s worth taking the time to write about, explore, and find ways to intentionally improve or develop your relationships at work.

Good professional relationships have a number of benefits:

  • We enjoy our work more and feel more generally satisfied with our job.
  • We feel more open and free to be creative, and our innovations are more likely to be accepted and recognized.
  • Career opportunities may come to us through friends, mentors, and other influencers at work.
  • We gain a broader worldview by interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • We carry less stress and are just generally happier.

With all of this in mind, select one or more of the following journal writing prompts and begin writing.

[bctt tweet=”It’s worth the time to write about and find ways to improve or develop your relationships at work.” username=”writingthrulife”]


Journaling Prompts

  • Describe your relationship with your closest friend at work. Where does this relationship fit into your life?
  • Do you trust your closest colleagues enough to be open and honest with your ideas and feedback?
  • How does feeling valued and respected at work affect your professional relationships?
  • Do you trust your co-workers? Your boss? Why or why not?
  • Do you have to interact with “difficult” people on an ongoing basis? What coping mechanisms do you use, and what actions could you take to shift these relationships to positive ground?
  • Do you tend to forge friendships with people of all ages, or do you stick to your age group? How could you broaden your “professional relationship pool”?
  • Describe the quality of relationships you have developed with your customers. Are they your company’s customers or your own clients? Are they internal to your organization or external? Do you feel closer to some of your customers than others?
  • In what ways do you nurture your professional relationships? What could you do to improve or build on these efforts?
  • Do you have any difficult professional relationships? People you just can’t relate to? What actions could you take to build a bridge between you and those persons?
  • What priority do you place on developing work relationships? Write about the motivations and barriers to focusing on these connections.

You gain the most from your journaling when you reflect on what you have written.  So, when you have completed your journaling session, take time to go back and read through your entries. What patterns and insights emerge? How do your work relationships affect or reflect on other relationships in your life? What have you learned through your writing, and how can you use this to improve your working relationships?

If you feel so inclined, share some of what you learned here.


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4 thoughts on “Journaling Through Relationships: At Work

  • Jude Bristow

    Thank you, great relational questions. I currently work in early years education, and am returning to work in a couple of weeks. Your post has prompted me to think about the other ladies I work with, the adults, other than my husband, who I spend most of my time with. As you said, my colleagues are not of my choosing. In my journal I could explore what those relationships mean to me now, and what sort of work relationships I would like to have

    best regards

  • Sara Etgen-Baker

    Although I’m retired and no longer working outside my home, I often reflect upon my years in the workforce. Sometimes work relationships were positive and sometimes those relationships were full of stress and angst! I’ve learned much in reflecting upon both types of relationships–they reveal a great deal about my interior landscape. The lessons have learned have spilled over into other relationships outside the workforce.