A frolleague is a friend and a colleague. It is a social slang term mixing the two words. Frolleagues are people that you both work with and are friends with. They may or may not be close friends and are often connected through social networking sites.
Frolleagues are generally met at work and the frolleague relationship is usually began as colleagues. This may escalate into a friendship through complaining about work or wages, or uniting against a common enemy like a boss. People who work together have many opportunities for interaction and often become close. They may go out to a bar together for drinks, and develop a friendship outside of work. This is only one type of frolleague.
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Frolleagues can also take the shape of people met at work who you wouldn’t be caught dead with outside of work. These colleagues may be friends at the office, but are generally someone you would not socialize with in the real world. They are more than colleagues, but are not quite friends. They are valuable allies at work, but not interesting enough to introduce to your other friends.
Another way to make frolleagues is through social networking. After leaving a company, or while still at a company, a person may find frolleagues through Myspace, Facebook, or any other online social network. A friend request may be sent to the colleagues, and the acceptance of the friend request makes the two become frolleagues. The frolleagues may then develop a friendship from this social networking connection. This type of frolleague may develop into either frolleagueship mentioned above, the close friendship, or the “just at work” friend.
The frolleague, though, is a dangerous relationship that may come back to haunt a person in their professional arena. A person often uses a social networking system like Facebook to connect with friends, share stories, and make plans. These networking programs can be strew with embarrassing stories, past mistakes, or interesting photographs. A person may not want their boss, co-workers, or clients to see or have access to this personal life outside of the professional life. But the inclusion of co-workers into a personal social circle as frolleagues opens these doors to the entire office. This type of relationship can cause a lot of grief at work, from jokes and taunts, to serious recriminations from a boss or big client.
Many argue that it is important to keep friends and colleagues separate, but those addicted to the social networking scene, or those with many close friends at work, insist on having many frolleagues, whether it risks a professional meltdown and embarrassment or not.