How Not to Make Your Friendships Overseas Awkward

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Never mix personal life with professional life. Now in my experience as an English teacher, I have done that and when I did, it made the situation kind of uncomfortable because I was having role confusion, and it can be very difficult to manage in a work-business setting that’s profit driven, that’s productivity driven, and that’s based on tests. So, having that kind of role confusion does kind of seep and bleed and mix in to the work you’re doing and can create unnecessary distraction from what you’ve set out to do in your school environment.

Not to mention the fact that you are also relying only on a select group of people which limits you to the wider community that’s available to you. And I’m in agreement with the author Dan Kennedy on this particular idea, which is that one is a dangerous number, one at anything is a dangerous number. Having one friend, having one school, having one line of skills, having one business, I think one is a very difficult number.So diversify your portfolio today! I mean it worked for Warren Buffet, right?

So, if you only have one social network and that social network is the school, then you’re putting yourself at risk of losing it all and being at the mercy of the one community that’s feeding you. I really don’t advocate that kind of fragile balancing act that you often do when you’re mixing personal and professional life.It’s just waaaay too risky. Make like the bisexuals and increase your options for a date. You’ll be able to breathe that much more easily!Plus your pickings go from slim to huge!

Mixing your personal life and work is not the best idea because it effects your productivity in the work you’re doing. It also makes things kind of awkward. Like a personal issue that you have with somebody will tend to gravitate into your working environment. Even when hanging out, people will try to pretend that you drinking on the weekend didn’t happen and that you didn’t put your underwear on your head or whatever it is that you do on the weekend. Just like the song, you gotta keep em separated.

There are many things that can lead to an uncomfortable situation, especially because people talk like gossip and news travels, and so your reputation travels with the people you work with and that you socialize with. Sometimes people will find out that you’re not really an English teacher, that you’re just a college graduate holding up pictures of the alphabet and having people repeat those. It happens!  Not to me but you know “other people.”

The more you socialize with your colleagues and the more involved you get with them, the riskier you get with the behaviors you initiate and indulge in that could eventually come back to you in ways that are adverse. And we’re not even talking about you sleeping with your colleagues, which is a definite no-no. don’t swim in the company pool, take it to the community pool and get a better swim.

Even just the harmless “dinner night out,” can lead to conflicts of interest. Mixed signals are worse than straight yes or no. Trust me on this one.

So, those are all reasons why I don’t recommend mixing your professional and your personal life. Trust me, you can make many more friends and open up your life a lot more with people outside of work. Having friendships is valuable, just don’t make them with people who could fire you for insubordination. I mean who want’s that kind of pressure from your boss! Can you say “Awkward?!”

Author Bio:

Todd Squitieri

Todd Squitieri holds a BFA from New School University and an MA in Applied Sociology from William Paterson University. He has taught in over 5 countries, and currently resides in Da Nang, Vietnam where he is writing a book about his experiences.