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How your attachment style affects your relationships at work

While the idea of issues in adulthood stemming from one’s childhood might sound cliche, the reality is that that’s often the case. The attachment theory talks about the way our earliest relationships with our primary caregivers affect our relationships and interactions as adults. We usually think about how our attachment style affects our relationships with our family members and partners. However, these styles also influence the way we work with others. In this Pacific Prime article, we’ll take a look at how your attachment style affects your relationships at work.

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Types of attachment styles

Before we take a closer look at the way your attachment style impacts your work relationships, you first have to know what your attachment style is. While the most accurate way to learn about your attachment style is by speaking with a mental health professional, there are many attachment style tests you can take online. It’s important to answer the questions as honestly as possible for the most accurate results.

An attachment style essentially describes the kind of relationship a person had with their caregiver as a child. When you were a child and were hungry, tired, sad, or scared, your caregiver either met your needs or did not. If your caregiver took care of your needs and you were able to depend on them, you have what is known as a secure attachment style.

If your caregiver only met your needs on occasion, you tend to develop an anxious attachment style. Similarly, if your caregiver ignored or failed to care for your needs, you often form an avoidant attachment style. There are two types of avoidant attachment styles: fearful-avoidant and dismissive-avoidant.

Attachment styles at work

Once you know your attachment style, you can develop a better understanding of how it affects the way you work with other people. The different attachment styles play out at work in the following ways:

Secure attachment

If you have a secure attachment style, you tend to have healthy and stable relationships with the people you work with. It’s likely that you’re more satisfied with your job and less likely to experience high levels of conflict at work. If your role is the right fit, you probably feel secure and competent, and also find it easier to get along with your colleagues.

If this is your attachment style, do what you can to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Try to spend your time and energy working on things you’re passionate about. It’s advisable to ask others for feedback on your work so you know if you can make improvements. Since others often turn to you for guidance and balance, particularly when working as a team, you need to be able to set boundaries and recognize what you should focus on.

Anxious attachment

If you have an anxious attachment style, anxiety regarding your relationships may be all too common. You may constantly feel like you’re not performing up to everyone’s expectations or like you’re about to get fired. You find it important to fit in at the workplace, and this can really make you anxious. For example, you could find yourself constantly refreshing your inbox to see if you’ve missed anything important.

However, this attachment style doesn’t have to be all negative. In fact, those with anxious attachment styles often help their team become more effective since they can recognize potential risks. If you have this type of attachment style, it could be helpful to learn how to set boundaries to maintain your relationships at work.

For instance, you can start by not checking work emails or responding to messages outside of working hours. Since you value fitting in, you might fail to set healthy boundaries, which can result in discontent and eventually burnout. It can also be beneficial for you to find calming strategies, such as positive self-talk and asking for support or reassurance from your peers.

Avoidant attachment

Unlike those with anxious attachment style who mostly care about being liked by coworkers, individuals with avoidant attachment styles typically value their independence. These types generally like to work alone and may use work to avoid interacting. This can have a negative impact on how you work since it can dampen your relationship with your managers and coworkers.

With that said, there are advantages to this attachment style, such as quicker response to problems in the team. If you have a strong sense of self and high self-esteem, then you might find it easier to make decisions instead of waiting for others to tell you what to do. On the other hand, this can also lead to mistrust and conflict if you do what you think you should do instead of what others actually want you to do.

If this attachment style is familiar to you, you could benefit from making genuine connections with your coworkers. You could start by asking their opinion on your work, looking for ways to collaborate, or suggest grabbing lunch or coffee together. Even though you might want to be in your own zone or show others you’re busy by keeping your headphones in, think about the perks of forming relationships with the people you work with.

Attachment styles can vary according to circumstances and situations as well. So while a job, project, or person could bring out characteristics of one attachment style, other circumstances could reveal another.

Regardless of your attachment style, learning more about its characteristics will help you use it to your advantage while also alerting you to its drawbacks. As long as we do what we can to show up as our best and most conscious selves, our personal and work relationships are bound to improve.

How Pacific Prime can help

Showing up as your best self also means taking care of your health. Whether you’re an employee looking for individual health insurance to supplement your employee benefits plan or an employer looking for corporate health insurance to cover your employees, Pacific Prime is here to help.

As a reputable insurance broker with over two decades of experience in the industry, we have the connections and know-how to ensure you get the best plan for your needs and budget. Contact us for impartial advice, to compare insurance costs, or receive an obligation-free quote today.

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Jantra

Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical work day, she writes and edits articles, guides and anything else word-related. She aims to produce content that is easy for readers to understand and enjoyable at the same time.

When she’s not writing, she’s likely searching for a new restaurant or cafe to try, reading or doing yoga.
Jantra