5 Phases of Office Friendships
Since we love to talk about friendships and friend-building in the office, we figured we would put together a handy little info-graphic for you to maybe show the boss or your manager.
Since friends and fun in the office are often seen as dirty words, or even F-words, maybe a cool graphic will help take away some of the apprehension and confusion that exists.
The main idea is that everyone kind of starts as co-workers or employees (Phase 1). This means you literally work for the same company, maybe in the same office, and that's about it. Our goal is not to churn out tons of "Mega-Friends" (Phase 5) because that would be impossible. Even just 1 Mega-Friend at work would be a big deal.
Rather, can we start to move some of those co-workers and employees, who actually might be potential Abe Lincoln friends and have way more in common then they realize. Can we move them to the second phase of acquaintances.... so they at least know other people's names and where they work, and a "little bit" of background. Then if they are going to move into phase 3 of becoming office friends, they have a better chance from phase 2 instead of trying to jump from phase 1 to phase 3 .
A fun exercise that we do often, sometimes with individual companies and sometimes in speeches, is to ask if you have a filter that can be used for all 5 phases.
Do you have an internal company value, or hobby, or theme that you could use to define what each of those 5 phases might look like for your specific business?
A great one we heard recently at a speech came from an audience members and it was beautiful in its simplicity: Dogs!
In Phase 1 you don't even know the person has a dog. In Phase 2 maybe you learn their dogs name. In phase 3 you talk about your dogs and swap stories and pictures (of course). In phase 4 you meet each others dogs, maybe even at the dog park, and in phase 5 ... yup ....you are dog sitting when they go out of town on Vacation.
See how fun this can be?
What's your company filter? Is it something serious like honesty or admitting mistakes? Or is it something more casual like food trucks and video games and football on Sundays (hint in phases 3/4/5 you watch Football with them or actually go to the games with them!)
Think about what your favorite filter is as a way to define the 5 phases of office friendships and see if it helps people in your office think about the phases in a fun and relateable way.
And if you have a filter better than dogs, please do let us know!