I'm looking for a phrase to describe a certain relationship similar to "friend zone". The relationship is where you can't treat a person one way because you are so connected it might cause problems in another area of life.

An example would be. I can't date Jane since we work together. She is in my ----- zone.

  • Does friend zone not imply that you can't get any because you guys are just friends? Wouldn't you mean something more like 'group of friends'?
    – Mou某
    Sep 7, 2014 at 2:10
  • She is in my co-worker zone. Because otherwise, she's in my fraternization forbidden zone.
    – SrJoven
    Sep 7, 2014 at 5:21

3 Answers 3


She is in my conflict zone. This is related to the concept conflict of interest.

a conflict between the private interests and the official responsibilities of a person in a position of trust [Merriam-Webster]


A better word choice than zone would be circle where the definition includes

a group of people who are connected by family, work, or society, or who share an interest (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)

The you can express your point in a more recognizable way:

I can't date Jane since we work together. She is in my circle of coworkers (or business associates).

Circle of friends is a common expression.

If you use Google+, you know how they have adapted this circle expression for you to organizes however many group relationships you might have.

Google+ Circles

  • That’s the marvelous thing about a circus: everybody gets a ringside seat.
    – tchrist
    Sep 6, 2014 at 23:05
  • I'm looking for a word that categorises the relationship. Maybe the reason is she is your boss. That doesn't mean that relationship holds for your other co-workers.
    – drawde83
    Sep 7, 2014 at 1:03

How about just work?

It's common to talk of work-life separation. Life (short for lifestyle including friends, family, health, pleasure, leisure) and work (career and ambition) can have their own zones.

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