About a year ago I returned from a vacation that will go down in the books as the best vacation of my life. How do I know this when I am all of 28? Because it was just that good.
The craziest part of said vacation? I was surrounded by coworkers. And if my work friends hadn’t become real-life friends before we left, by the time we got back the deal had been sealed.
I just logged onto my computer to write a blog about an entirely different topic (tune in next week!), but before settling into posting I, in typical form, checked my Google reader. One of my favorite blogs, 1000 Awesome Things, is “a time-ticking countdown of 1000 awesome things.” Stuff like using milk instead of water, guilty pleasure songs, and broccoflower. (There’s a book too.) Today’s post—the 465th awesome thing—is about when a work friend becomes an outside-of-work friend.
Author Neil Pasricha writes “Cracking jokes by the copier, swapping stories on the line, laughing in the lunchroom, you found a friend between policies, procedures, and paperwork. When you got together you started noticing you were just you, just hanging out, just laughing about your day. Then one day your friendship zoomed to a new level…Yes, you turned a work friend into an outside-of-work friend, baby.”
The other day I mentioned that as I get further into my search, I’m hyper aware of each bit of headway. My most favorite sign of blossoming friendship is that moment when you go from introducing someone as a “work friend” to just a “friend.” For me it always happens in the moment: “This is my work friend—well actually just my friend—Brooke.” It’s a nice verbal acknowledgment that the relationship is more than the office that conceived it. (Sort of like when Matt stopped calling me his friend and started with girlfriend. These are moments I notice. No need to pretend otherwise.)
So today, when most of my now outside-of-work friends are actually out of work (like, out of the office, not sans job. Thankfully), I will agree with Mr. Pasricha. They are pretty awesome.
Have you turned work friends into outside-of-work friends? And—here’s the big question—once you left the job, did the friends remain? I’ve heard both: stories of these friendships getting stronger once the office politics were no longer involved, and tales of friendships fading once the common work bond disappeared. (Oh, and I’ve even got tips for turning office friends into real-life ones. How’s that for service?)