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When Coworkers Become Friends

August 28, 2019

I work with Mark. We are coworkers. But, we are also friends. That’s not always the case. I’m actually pretty reserved at work. I once worked for a small startup for over a month before my boss realized I have 13 children. And even then, it was because I decided to tell him.

I consider myself a good coworker. I’m a big believer in “When one of us wins, we all win.” I am good at sharing, or even giving away credit. But, most times, there’s a wall that comes up. Not because I’m trying to hide anything, but because work and the rest of my life don’t need to overlap anymore than they already do.

So, my friendship with Mark was a surprise. He’s good at what he does. Very good. In fact, the more I get to know him, the more convinced I am that he’s way better at his job than just about anyone I’ve ever known.

The thing is, he’s also very humble. If he happens to read this, he will insist that I’m overstating his ability. Yeah, he likes to give away credit too. It helps build teams. . .and trust.

We don’t have a lot in common other than work. Mark lives in Florida. I live in Utah. I’m married and have a huge family. He’s single. He’s gay. I’m straight.

It’s probably good we don’t live closer. Dinner’s take four hours. We talk and eat appetizers. We eat entrees and we talk. And then we linger over drinks, his a craft beer, mine a soft drink. (One more difference.) Tonight, we ate a fun little outdoor bar overlooking an inland waterway. Eventually, the bar emptied and still we lingered over our glasses. Finally, they announced the alarms were going to be turning on in 15 minutes, and while we were welcome to stay, we were going to possibly be getting a visit from the boys in blue when the alarms triggered.

Having a friend at work is important. Not necessarily for the individual, but for the company. Studies have shown that employees that have a friend at work are more engaged and less likely to leave.

It’s strange because it doesn’t even matter that the friend lives 2500 miles away. It doesn’t matter that the friend shares very little in common.

It just matters that you have a friend.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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