Lack of Friendships and Longer Working Hours

officefriends.jpgThese days we work a lot of hours in office. Sometimes and in some cases these hours are as high as 20 in a day! For many people, there is hardly any life outside office. Such is the state of life these days. And we all have many colleagues we come in touch with. For consultants like me, who go from one project to another, there are many colleagues to be in touch with. But for those who work in a company for long, they have the same folks they have been working with for a decade sometimes.

But does such proximity create friendships? We know such proximity creates romance or sexual relationships, because that is based on looks and desires. And sometimes, that leads to even marriage. If one is in a romantic relationship, then the proximity spills outside the office as well.

Friendship, however, is different. Do you really make friends with colleagues? Can we say after we have worked with the same people for say 10-15 years, that we know them as friends?

I have seen with many of my friends, that the refrain usually is that friendships made in school have stayed intact ever since. But all the relationships – even current ones – do not have that “closeness” factor. Why is that?

If you are wondering if your colleagues are your “friends” or not, lets ask some questions that may help us:

  • If your friend left the company, would you still be in touch with him/her in a year?
  • If you have a personal emergency, would you consider asking your friend for help?
  • Do you hang out with your friend outside of the office? (Weekday lunches, happy hours and business trips don’t count)
  • Have you met your friend’s significant other? What about his friends outside of office?
  • if your friend received the promotion you were banking on, would you be genuinely happy for him/her?
  • If you ran into your friend in the store, would you be able to talk to him for 10 minutes without mentioning work?
  • Have you seen where your friend lives?
  • Do you and your friend have anything in common besides your age and your job?

What was your score? Tough was it? 🙂

With lack of friendship and companionship comes the risk of diseases like Alzheimers in the older age. Many diseases of the brain – degenerative ones – are related to our ability to have close relationships in society. With such hard work and longer hours, the spouses are hardly ever together for a good and close conversation. Despite that, one doesn’t have good friends to bank on in times of stress and pain or even sharing happiness (lest the colleague is jealous!).

Are we the “professionals” working ourselves out to senility and dementia? Its a good question to ask for yourself.

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