Although honesty is by far the most important quality in forming relationships, let's face it--there are always certain things you should never tell others in a professional setting. Sharing the right aspects of who we are is absolutely necessary for building lasting connections. We just need to walk the fine line between showing a personal side and divulging carelessly and without limit.
First of all, we should never complain about the work we must do.
A colleague of mine once worked in a lab with two other partners. Although both were relatively competent members of the team, one never stopped whining about his share of the work--despite the fact that all the duties were evenly distributed among everyone. His incessant complaining gave the group a negative opinion of his character, leaving his coworkers unwilling to help him whenever he asked.
While it's true that we all occasionally feel like we're contributing more than our fair share of time and effort, it's important to remember that it happens to everyone. If you feel you are being unfairly treated, speak to someone who can change that--not your fellow coworkers. Overly complaining sheds a negative light on your character, especially for those with whom you could sustain valuable relationships.
We should, however, make sure to share our stories with the people we see every day.
Even though it's hard to bridge the gap at first, there's nothing stopping us from speaking with our coworkers about more meaningful things than our daily tasks or assignments.
People bond over similarities and, perhaps most important, having gone through like experiences in life. Recounting even one of our many stories allows us to find qualities we can relate to in one another--and lay the foundation for a personal relationship, maybe even one that can transcend the office environment.
In these instances, transparency is key. Honest communication is absolutely necessary when relaying personal experiences. If we are lacking in sincerity and present a false image of who we are, others will instantly feel like they cannot connect with us on an personal level.
Providing the right amount of honesty in a professional environment is not the easiest thing to do. However, with a good attitude and a little bit of practice, we just might be able to find the perfect balance.