As we’ve previously discussed going to lunch with the boss, I thought it appropriate to discuss lunching with co-workers.
Personally, I prefer one on one co-worker lunches. It’s less intimidating and there’s no question of does John get along with Jane or vice-versa.
Initially, I don’t really mention anything about the office. I use the time to get to know the person outside the workplace. I’ve found some amazing friends this way.
Ultimately, the conversation usually does drift to the office, office gossip and office politics. While I don’t advocate using this type of conversation as a litmus test for your personal views, it is an opportunity to get another person’s perspective. But tread carefully. There is potential for this to come back to haunt you.
It’s probably the journalist in me, but I tend to let the other person steer the conversation and set the tone. I try not to say anything I wouldn’t say to my boss’s face. This is a good policy and it has worked well for me.
Obviously, the more you lunch with the same person, you can relax this a little, but I would never suggest saying anything you wouldn’t say directly to your boss.
The potential sticky situation exists when lunching with a member of the opposite sex. I’ve found just using good judgment and being honest keeps this from being a problem.
Do you have co-worker lunch policies?