I’ve never liked the term “work friend.” It always felt like a modification that wasn’t flattering for anyone— “Oh she’s not a real friend. She’s a work friend.”
I mean, I wouldn’t want to be anyone’s “work” friend. Would you?
Recently, I hosted a webinar for meQuilibrium on taking the work out of networking—and the critical nature of our work relationships to keep us mentally and emotionally afloat.
Did you know that Americans, on average, recognize only 15 percent of their coworkers as “real friends?” Some studies have shown that we consider 22 percent of the people we work with…strangers.
You don’t have to be everyone’s BFF. You don’t even have to like everyone. I don’t.
But the ones I do like, I invest in. In her fantastic book The Lost Art of Connecting, Susan McPherson points out that a deep and sustainable social network can add up to 15 years to your life.
(Her book is great, btw–Susan is a master connector who makes relationship building practical and realistic and well worth doing.)
What was nutso is that I gave this webinar presentation in the middle of a full day workshop I was running another Zoom call (it was insane), called the What Do You Do Workshop, focused on how to talk about who we are and what we care about in ways that matter.
Our need and desire to connect, is challenged by the very anxieties that keep us from doing so.
And the point I made, emphatically, in both workshops, is that when you meet people in a professional context, they’re GOING to ask you what you do. And they’re not asking for a W2. They want to have a conversation with you, to see if it’s a conversation you want to continue.
The best conversations can go on for years–decades even! Don’t get too hung up on the what do you do question—it’s simply the door you walk through to get to the point, which is to connect about the things that matter.
Start now: Reach out to someone you don’t know all that well at work, and ask about something besides that thing you need from them by EOD please.
We’re nothing without our relationships–not productive, not connected, and not happy.
Start with me! I’d love to hear from you.