By Katy Atherholt 10 months ago・8 comments

Hi WM Community!

I wanted to start a conversation about working on projects with our close friends, partners, family or others with pre-existing relationships.

The people in my life are all up to cool stuff and I love working together but sometimes I struggle to not let the projects take over the relationships or create tension in areas outside the scope of work!

For me the biggest perks are:
- Immediate trust and comfort to share honest feedback
- Quick progress when you can spend long hours talking and working together
- Shared networks and communities make handing off communication easier
- Shared understanding of tasks can make scheduling more fluid
- Getting to work with people I love just makes me feel warm and fuzzy!

But there are some drawbacks:
- Automatically talking about the project and updates *constantly*
- Lack of accountability to their commitments within the project because they think I have more time available than them in a given day or week (lol)
- Losing time to connect about other things going on in our lives

Would love to hear about others experiences with this.

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Oh, very good question!

I’ve worked with my partner for 3 years now and it works out really well for the most part! We figured out some guidelines and routines as we went and are still constantly adapting how we deal with things.

We’re still talking about our projects and work constantly, but we kind of love that part! There’s always someone to bounce ideas off quickly. If one of us is not in the mood, we just say so and postpone the conversation for a bit, but usually come back to it quickly.

Holding the other accountable is one of the most difficult parts for us, as we both understand why the other would procrastinate on hard stuff. So we both try to commit to one bigger / hard thing per week that 100% will get done. That makes it easier to talk about it or remind the other without causing tension.

I agree with Steph that it really depends on the relationship whether it’s going to work out. I can't think of any other person on this earth I could do this with. Being considerate and able to communicate well is key!

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(Sorry for the wall of text, somehow my line breaks got lost 🧐)

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It's a bug when you reply, but it displays well if you refresh the page. Should be fixed now!

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I've been working with my partner for about the same time so I can definitely relate.

I agree that accountability can be tough. I noticed that each of us having a "big" goal for the week helps too.

Otherwise I don't always like that we talk so often about our projects. I want us to have other hobbies and subjects of discussion, but at the same time it's a major part of our lives and we have this in common so it's hard not to talk about it so often. And there are always new things to do, and ideas coming at any time.

Sometimes I'm asking myself if we live in the real world because of this life/work relationship, I don't always feel that it is so normal, so I'm happy to see there are so other people like us! 😂 I'm curious to know if you have other "guidelines" or "boundaries" that you put in place to keep a healthy relationship.

I must say that even if my answer might sound negative, I wouldn't stop it either, I like what we do together!

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Haha yes, it’s definitely something different. We get to know more and more couples that work together, but not everyone works in tech. I feel it makes a difference because they don't identify as much with their work / don't see it as a hobby too. I'm still not sure whether it's good or bad that we do

Most "guidelines" we define are to not get too involved with the other's emotions. Like working on tasks that might frustrate us alone in separate offices and turning off Slack. It's not productive if the other one wants to help but can't. It makes us both miserable talking it through instead of just solving the problem in "isolation". We're also better at stopping ourselves from talking about the same problems again and again now.

There are still things we're working on – like not feeling pressured into working when the other one does, but I'm not sure how to tackle them yet.

Generally, we also have a very structured day and know exactly when the other does what. I know that sounds super boring, but it helps set expectations. F.ex. we know when it's time to stop working, cook dinner and eat. So if one of us is hungry already they don't have to nag the other to stop working. It's little things that totally add up to make us feel comfortable.

How do you two handle your day to day together? Maybe you're not the same kind of control freaks we are 😂

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"not feeling pressured into working when the other one does": we made progress on this but not there yet!

Otherwise I don't think we are as structured as you 😂 We try to work less since a few months, so we are more in a "calm down" phase, where we work in priority on what we want. It doesn't mean we should work in a total mess though. Recently we tried to put our main goals on a sheet of paper at the beginning of the week so we both know what main tasks are keeping busy the other.

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This is such an important question!

I worked with my ex and it ended up causing problems for some of the reasons that you mentioned. But also, we just lost our ability to have space from one another. We worked together, lived together, traveled together, etc and it became an unhealthy dynamic.

I think it can be successful, but I think it's important to set some guidelines first and make sure that you both work towards keeping them in place. With those guidelines, it can be easier to discuss things if they're starting to go south because you can go back to those and say, "Hey, remember when we both agreed on this?". This goes for family and friends too!

Ultimately, I think it really depends on the friendship or relationship, so of course your personal judgment comes into play too!

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I've definitely been in that position before with the lack of space. There are a lot of conversations cut short with "let's drop this for now" but that's not always the most effective method.

Guidelines baked into each project seem to be a good call! Talking about what could go wrong beforehand seems like a downer sometimes but when I've done it in the past it can be really effective.

I was working on a side project with some friends recently where we had a weekly update call. After a few weeks of people missing it, someone suggested when we missed a call with no notice we had to buy everyone who made it a coffee. Everyone has been much more on top of it since :)

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