10 Rules For Working With Friends

by Lynn

There are certain rules for working with friends you have to follow if you want your business or partnership to be successful. Working with friends can be great and very successful but it does not come without its trials and complications. If you’re thinking of working with a friend or you’re already working with a friend. You might want to set some ground rules and expectations.

Here are the basic rules for working with friends;

Understand Work Personas

Just because you’re friends does not mean that you’ll have a similar work ethic. Before going into business with a friend you have to make sure you have compatible work personas. Your friend could be lazy, always missing deadlines, a workaholic, and so much more. Make sure you’re compatible in a business setting. You don’t want to end up doing everything and still sharing the returns. This causes resentment for your friend and may result in a falling out. Start out with a simple project before going full throttle in business. Working on several projects will help you identify your work personas and if you’re compatible.

RELATED: Ways to mend a broken friendship

Set Clear Expectations

State clearly what’s expected from each party. This is one of the rules for working with friends. When the roles and responsibilities of each party are clear and aligned, it makes things easier. This clarity helps manage expectations. You have to agree on each of your roles. Clearly state each role and do not make any assumptions.

Establish Work Rules

Define your work rules and structure from the beginning so as to help manage conflict much easier. After understanding your work personas and setting up clear expectations you should work on the rules. You might not work the traditional 9-5 when it comes to business. You can establish with your friend which hours you both should work and how many hours a day. Setting the daily routine rules is very vital if you’re to be successful. Set all work rules involved with running your business.

Maintain professionalism

Whenever you’re working together, or you’re at work, always maintain professionalism. It can be hard to do so because you were friends first. However, if you want to be successful, it has to be done. This will make even the employees you hire to take you more seriously. Since you’re friends you know a lot about each other. Maintaining a level of confidentiality at work is very important to maintain professionalism. Don’t go telling your employees things your friend shared in confidence.

Keep It Separate

Separate your friendship and your work relationship. When you leave work, you’re back to being friends. Do not bring up issues from work outside of work. Do not share things about your friendship at work. This is one of the essential rules for working with friends.

Conflict Resolution Strategy

When going into business with anyone, there will definitely be conflict. Having a system in place that will help you deal with conflict is very important. You don’t want a partner who is passive-aggressive every time you disagree on something. Have a way of talking things out and agreeing to disagree. Seek out business advice from professionals if possible. Go into business with a friend who you can have difficult conversations with.


Always ensure you keep things legal in any business deal. Keeping things formal on the business aspect of your relationship will help keep things healthy from the beginning. Have a partnership agreement with all the necessary legalities required. An airtight legal agreement will make sure you’re both protected in the business. Including everything in writing from contract resolution, finances, profit sharing, and even an exit clause are very essential.


Respect is important in any business relationship and especially a friendship business. You should respect what each of you brings to the table and your worth to the business. Most partnerships that don’t work out between friends is because they feel disrespected in the business or taken for granted.

Stay Friends

Always remember that you were friends first before you were business partners. This is one of the important rules of working with friends. To ensure your friendship does not fade away always make a point of meeting outside of work to maintain your friendship. Hang out with them like you always did before the partnership.


In any business partnership, there needs to be trust. You have to be in business with a partner who you can trust financially and ethically. Understand your strengths and weaknesses in business for both you and your partner. This will increase your trust levels with each other.

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