Business and Personal Relationships are formed in much the same way.

Stranger – Exchange of data

Almost all relations start in the same way with factual data exchange. It may be information already in the public arena, but no emotional content is added. We stick to the facts to protect ourselves from ridicule, criticism and judgement.

Business Relationships

A business relationship is much the same. When establishing a new business relationship, you share your name, business, and role, and maybe talk about sports. You stick to safe subjects.


If your subconscious gives you the green light (you know, the gut feeling that you like this person), you become friendly acquaintances meeting for a coffee etc. However, you remain cautious but gradually move to a deeper level of connection, revealing your ‘feelings’ back then. 

Both parties are still exploring, measuring and assessing the other person. After you have gone on a few dates or had some business discussions and the green light is still alight, you are ready for the next stage – Commitment.

Commitment – the honeymoon

When sufficient trust has been established, you are ready to become more involved with the other person. It may be a deepening romance, a couple may agree to be exclusive, or a more profound friendship embraced.

But you are still vulnerable.

You become extremely vulnerable

You may start to talk about your feelings now, but when you self-reveal, you become incredibly vulnerable and open to ridicule, criticism and judgement. Be extremely careful about your trust level with your lover, friend or work colleague before you reveal your private thoughts and feelings.

You may form contractual ties in business, but a business relationship can still include emotional elements. As with a personal relationship, before you self-reveal, be very careful.


Everything is beautiful. Expectations are as agreed, and the couple is in bliss. For the new employee, client or associate, things are running smoothly. 

This productive stage is when the relationship is ideal. But, like the moving tides, change is constant.

  • Relationships are fluid.
  • People grow and change.
  • Managers are promoted or move on.

However, humans give predictable clues when they become unsettled. The relationship is in peril if these warning signs are overlooked or ignored. We explore these clues in our course called ‘The Departure Lounge’.

If you value the relationship, you must act. If you take action, the relationship can be saved and even made stronger.

About the author 

Alan Cox

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