Can Work Relationships Turn Into Solid Friendships?
Over the years, I’ve always been careful with respect to which friends I allow into my personal space. Call me paranoid but I’ve too often heard of friendships gone bad outside of work, literally destroying professional careers. When I look back at my past employers I realized that I did not let a lot of people into my inner home circle and made a conscious effort to separate my work life from my “living life.” In fact, I can probably recall only five (5) real friendships I have which stemmed from us working together.
When I look at the characteristics of those friendships I realize one solid theme - we are all picky about who we call our close friends. In retrospect, most of us probably put each other through numerous tests over the years before we said out loud, “this is my good friend.” Looking back at one of my close friends she literally disowned me for some woman who for the life of me I couldn’t understand their friendship connection, but in time we reconnected and often laughed at the various scenarios we were placed in. Yep you guessed it, her other friend could not stand me and the feeling was mutual on my part, but that’s another story!
What I realized amongst all my friends was that we had a mutual respect and trust for one another. We were independent thinkers who challenged one another to be the best they could be, while valuing each other's opinions respectfully. At work, we may not have always agreed but outside of our 9-5 we could continue our friendships, even though we may have had differing perspectives inside the office.
As we got older we also realized that this type of relationship could span over a 20-year period, for some, because we were mature in thinking and recognized there are always different approaches to the same end goal and that any approach could be subsidized so that all could meet a respective objective.
Now don’t get me wrong over a certain period those around us recognized we were close because at times we would mention social gatherings we all attended. This, for some, did create a bunch of presumptions that we had to delicately maneuver through; allowing our peers to understand we were independent thinkers and did not automatically side with one another. Sometimes we would have detailed conversations, laying out why we made some business decisions, which could be draining but in any corporate environment politics at some level is a given.
I’m sure we now look back at our past office relationships and smile at the decisions we made, the relationships we developed and the people we let into our lives. We here at Shades of Influence encourage you to not shy away from getting to know people at work but as we say what sometimes looks like a miserable beginning can be a beautiful ending.
Here’s to celebrating solid friendships formed through work!