Maintaining good boundaries is difficult in any walk of life. Doing so in entertainment can seem like it requires the acrobatic skills of a circus performer. How does an actor or model know when to develop a relationship outside of the studio?
It’s hard to say that any advice covers every situation, so a good amount of personal judgment goes into the specific circumstances. If the potential friend is a director, producer, casting director, or production assistant, any outside friendship should maintain a reasonable distance if a successful career is the main focus. But personal relationships can give a powerful advantage when there is a job on the table.
There are cases where I’ve seen talent develop more intimate friendships with decision-makers. In these cases, when things were rosy it worked in the talent’s favor. However, when the friendship was challenged or on the rocks, that advantage quickly morphs into a sizable disadvantage. Even intimate friendships that do not become physical can have highs and lows. Take into account the detriment of the low before deciding to open up with your deepest darkest secrets. Maintaining an acquaintanceship with these industry professionals is wise and helpful long term; becoming bosom buddies can prove to be thin ice, though!
Once that line from professional into personal has been crossed, what should the friendship look like? The answer isn’t simple and will vary depending on the two people involved, but there are some safe rules to generally abide by.
**Avoid the subjects of religion and politics – the chance of disagreements springing from minor details aren’t worth the bad vibes.
**Keep things platonic even when the spark is there. Relationships between two people who feel an attraction are difficult to ignore, but acting on those feelings in an industry where emotions are worn on sleeves can douse those sparks as quickly as they flamed.
**Maintain the mystery that captivates your audience. Sharing deeply personal information can have strong effects on others based on their own deeply personal experiences. Drudging up painful emotional places from someone’s past is a good way to be shut out altogether.