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June 28, 2024 6 mins

How to turn work acquaintances into real friends

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning,
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is that if you don't have a work best friend,
try to make one. Having a close friend at work

(00:24):
may help you do your job better, but it will
definitely make your time at work more enjoyable and less stressful.
Yesterday's Before Breakfast episode focused on celebrating close friendships at work.
Today's tip is for people who don't have a close
friend at work yet. It's about how you might find

(00:46):
and make one. You may have heard about the Gallop
Employee Engagement survey question that asks whether you have a
work best friend. The question may seem a bit fluffy, random,
but Gallup has found that having a work best friend
is closely correlated with engagement. In an article by Alec

(01:10):
Patel and Stephanie Plowman, Gallup reports that people who strongly
agree they have a work best friend are more likely
to be satisfied with their workplace and to recommend it
as a place to work. They are less likely to
be looking for another job, and if you think about it,
this makes sense. A close friend is someone you would

(01:32):
willingly spend time with on evenings and on the weekends.
If you actually get to spend time with this person
during the work day, that is a life bonus all around.
But of course that raises the question how do you
make a work best friend? I like to use some
imagery from friendship expert Shasta Nelson of moving people up

(01:56):
the friendship ladder. Once we are not in fourth grade anymore,
we tend not to cast eyes on people and announce
that they will be our best friends forever. What we
tend to do is spend a lot of time with
people and then find we tend to like them, and
then create new opportunities to get together, and slowly a

(02:19):
tight friendship is formed. So first look around at the
people you already know and generally like at your workplace.
Are there people who might be amenable to deepening the relationship.
If you and Kathy and Accounting always enjoy a good
laugh when you chat, ask if she wants to grab

(02:41):
lunch with you today or tomorrow. If you and John
and Felicia have worked well together on a project, suggest
the three of you go out to celebrate briefly after
work someday. If you don't see any potential BFFs among
the people you know at your workplace. Consider volunteering for
departmental efforts so you can meet more people. For instance,

(03:04):
you might volunteer to help with the holiday party or
the quarterly receptions for new hires. You could join an
employee affinity group and meet other people with some similarities
to you. Or if it's a really small office, maybe
get involved in professional associations in your area and start
a regular meetup of some like minded folks. It's not

(03:26):
quite as good as a workplace BFF, but your five
person accounting adventures weekly happy hour group could wind up
being a source of a lot of pleasure and meaning
over time. For those of you who are managers or
who work in HR. Gallup offers recommendations for creating a
culture that supports workplace friendships. Ask yourself, do employees have time,

(03:52):
opportunities and permission to form a spontaneous connections I personally
am a big fan of during the day social and
group bonding opportunities, as official post work events tend to
put people with young families at a disadvantage. Gallup suggests

(04:13):
that leaders actually talk about the value of friendships. You
might also show that people can make time for all
sorts of friendships in their lives at work and outside
of work by showing that it's okay to leave before dark.
Having a work BFF isn't frivolous. It makes work more

(04:34):
enjoyable and probably makes people more productive. So if you
don't have a work best friend currently, maybe see what
you can do over the next year to move a
person or two up the friendship ladder. Or if you
are feeling ambitious, what about aiming to have a work
best friend. By what I see on one of those

(04:54):
silly holiday calendars is called work Bestie Day. That is
apparently October eighteenth. My guess is that in a few
months of consciously inviting people to do things and looking
for opportunities to chat and get to know people, you
can make progress. Even if you don't have a BFF yet,

(05:16):
you'll have more friends and that's a good thing too.
In the meantime, this is Laura. Thanks for listening, and
here's to making the most of our times. Thanks for

(05:36):
listening to Before Breakfast. If you've got questions, ideas, or feedback,
you can reach me at Laura at Laura vandercam dot com.
Before Breakfast is a production of iHeartMedia. For more podcasts
from iHeartMedia, please visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or

(05:59):
whereever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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