Relationship 101: In Lust with your Company?…They Just Aren’t That Into You


Is anybody at work really into you?  

Indulge me in a quote from the book, He’s Just Not That Into You. This book was my Bible after my divorce and I was thrown into mid-thirties dating (that is another adventuresome story for another time):

Cut your losses and don’t waste your time. Why stay in some weird dating limbo when you can move on to what will surely be better territory? Don’t want to hear it?  Fine… But please don’t be surprised if he dumps you or continues to drag you through a completely unsatisfying relationship.

What does that have to do with HR?
I had a conversation with a CEO-type person I respect and he gave me advice on how to handle a situation with a coworker.  No melodramatics here…I just needed a little navigational advice.

Ultimately I was advised if I wanted to get through to my coworker I should forget the “relationship building” angle and just get to the meat of my point. Time is money = and this gal ain’t got time for a Lifetime Moment. This was practical, relevant advice that I will likely heed.  However….

Isn’t it all about the relationship?  Always.  Since we are human. And we cry. And we laugh. And we don’t very well differentiate between turning on and off emotions at work vs. life?  After all isn’t work/life one now.  Craig Fisher, guru from Ajax Social Media (@fishdogs) called his network “Prof-ersonal” .  There is no line anymore.

So, just like “if a tree falls in a wood and nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?”, I would ask, “If you try to build a relationship and no one cares, does it really matter”? Is the common HR “let’s build relationships” fallback always the proper fallback?  I say no.

I’m a fan of building relationships to advance HR business ops because we only have influential power. But if others don’t roll that way, and their non-relationshipy style seems to get things done, should you care? Seems some of your effective C-Suite does not care nor do they have to.  So just like He’s Just Not That Into You, should you HR Rockstar, cut your losses, quite wasting time, and get out of that weird, corporate, relationship building limbo?

If it keeps you HR strategy from advancing and puts your program in a perpetual limbo…..may you should get a new “fallback”.

4 thoughts on “Relationship 101: In Lust with your Company?…They Just Aren’t That Into You

  1. Awesome post Dawn and as someone who also recently graduated from the “30-40’s Dating Scene” I got both the references…sometimes I think it’s also more fair to simply get to the point with people…saves time and doesn’t set false expectations in their mind. But that might be Radical.

  2. Dawn,

    Its not you, its me.

    akaBruno

  3. Firstly, nice post. I think we’ve all been there (more than once) when you don’t know if you have the cronological or emotional capital to spend on getting someone over the line cleanly.

    But this comment made me think …

    > I should forget the “relationship building” angle and just get to the meat of my point.

    … about the fact (in my opinion) that it isn’t really that black and white. Relationship building isn’t all about nursing people through a change. That’s only one type of relationship. A relationship that is fair and respectful, but professional (read impersonal), can still be effective with the right people.

    Sometimes, particularly for the emotionally needy, a “less is more” approach to the personal part of the relationship sets the right emotional boundaries for ongoing interactions.

    Seriously, in the modern workplace, it is not ok for an individual to need that much effort. This might sound harsh (but think of it as tough love), but the person in question needs to build/acquire the tools to take more direct news/feedback.

    I think your efforts (different approaches, seeking guidance, etc) are admirable, but the person you’re trying to get to isn’t an innocent bystander in the process.

    I would suggest the direct approach. The ‘relationship’ will be better for it.

    Hope that’s food for thought. 🙂

  4. @radicalrecruit Hate you went through mid-thirties dating…love I am not alone!! Too true–many in HR circles do think it radical to not continue to build the relationship, or work withing the boundaries of the “non-relationship “relationship. Again, I’m a fan of relationship building….but for some a “new” type of relationship —IS the relationship. Dear lord, how many times did I say relationship…..

    @onefte I love your statement the other person is not an “innocent bystander in teh process”. YES! Agreed, and must be repeated!

    @akabruno next you’ll tell me I’ll be better off..right?

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