Each relationship we enter into whether it be through work, a romantic involvement, a friendship or merely a conversation with the cashier at the coffee shop is a delicately balanced power dynamic. The power involved in any exchange is often masked and not addressed. Maybe it is too complex to understand, especially in passing moments, but when a relationship is something extended, something that will continue over a period of time, it helps to address how power is being used between parties, what causes shifts in this power, and how this makes one feel. In graduate school we were given a chart about relationships - on one side were personal relationships and on the other professional. The chart stipulated that the goal of personal relationships was to be liked, while that of professional was to be respected. I had problems with this chart. I think that goals for personal and professional relationships should not be differentiated in this way. I think in both circumstances my goal is to have power with the people I relate to (more often than not because of course power dynamics are in a constant state of motion) and to make sure that in my relationships I am not being controlled or trying to control others. There are differences in boundaries in our personal and professional lives and this is where it gets complicated. I think that the faculty in my grad program handed out the chart about personal vs. professional relationships because as students we were all friends and this meant different things to different people. Some people did not have boundaries between the things they told their friends and the things they told the people that they work with and in our case it was especially confusing because we were working together and friends. In order to establish a balanced power dynamic, people must be honest with one another about their boundaries and then make choices about who they tell what based on whether or not that person has similar boundaries. I feel that in professional relationships people often hide more. Secrets tip the scales of power however, and unless everyone has the same boundaries and is withholding the same information they will have to navigate shifting issues of who has power over whom. I have never been in a traditional work environment (i.e. office) where this is not the case. The beginnings of romantic relationships are very similar. Some people share faster than others, some people have more secrets, some people are more hesitant. How then can we expect to ever be on equal footing with someone else? I don't know that we can ever be there exactly, but as long as we are aware and working toward this balance of power, we will be working with and not against those around us.