A new promotion has cropped up at work, but it’s an entirely different department. I’m struggling with the decision to take it as I’m hesitant to leave my friends.

Accepting a new promotion at work may mean taking on added responsibilities and developing new relationships. Elaine Varelas guides on important things to consider when making the decision.

Q: I was recently offered a promotion in a different department, but I am reluctant to step into the great unknown. I have such a great team that have become dear friends of mine, but I imagined that a promotion would be with my same team. How do I decide between my relationships and my career?

A: Congratulations on being offered a promotion. It sounds like you are hesitant to lose the personal relationships that you have made with your colleagues for a promotion with a team of unknown people. You envisioned and started planning on a promotion that would be with a group of people who you knew, were comfortable with, and understood their skills set, but your organization has a need for new leadership and management in a different department.

Think about the reasons the organization selected you for this opportunity. What seems clear is that they see leadership skills, management skills, and the ability to develop new relationships that will be successful. Most organizations promote from within when they recognize that a person will be able to develop those strong relationships that retain people in those departments and with the organization.

You seem to be very focused on what you will potentially lose, which is friendships with the people in your current department. Many people don’t want promotions in their current department because of the challenges in managing friends. Recognize that you don’t have to lose those relationships at all. They will change because you won’t see those friends every day and you won’t be as closely involved with them, but they can turn into outside of work relationships. It may take more time and energy for you to continue those relationships, but all relationships take time and investments.

The career opportunity associated with the promotion will lead to new relationships although they will be different. If you ask most managers, they will tell you that they enjoy most of the relationships with the people that report to them. But they also recognize that those relationships may not turn into lifelong friendships. You can do both in your situation. You can retain those friendships, but in a different way. You can move forward with the promotion and enjoy career advancement, which offers higher compensation typically and increased responsibility, if that is what you want. And you can demonstrate your skill set and develop brand new relationships.

Fear of the unknown and fear of loss seem to be driving your decision-making. If there is a way to turn your focus on what you will gain if you take the promotion and new opportunity, I encourage you to look at it that way.