When you think of enhancing your success at work, you might instantly focus on enrolling in a new professional development course or learning a new skill – or perhaps you’ll hunt for a time management app that will help you increase your productivity. But there is one often overlooked but wildly valuable action you should take, reports Forbes. You need to find best friends at work. It’s friends with benefits (FWBs), but not those kinds of benefits. To amp up your success and happiness at work, don’t seek FWBs, focus on BWFs.
According to an article in Time by Eric Barker titled “The Way to Happiness: Remember the Four Ps,” 70% of happiness is linked to your relationships with other people.“People” is one of his four Ps, and this principle isn’t limited the people in your personal life.
In addition to making you happier, having a BWF will also increase your engagement at work. A Gallup survey found that having a best friend at work is one of twelve factors that are predictors of workplace engagement and success.For example, women who strongly agreed they have a best work friend were more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who did not agree with the statement (29%).
In addition, professionals with BWFs were 43% more likely to report having received praise and recognition for their work in the previous week. And those with a BWF acknowledged that they felt recognized for their progress, their opinions mattered at work, and they had the opportunity to do what they do best every day.
Yet, with the amount of work we seek to accomplish every day and the mounting other commitments, often the first thing we give up is friendship. Why? Because we look at it as a “nice to have,” not a necessity.
But what if you changed your mindset? What if you decided that having friends at work – and even a best work friend – will actually make you more successful (and in the process happier) at work?
What’s preventing you from having friends at work? Often, making a breakthrough requires ditching an old mindset and adopting a new habit. So first, if you are feeling friend deficient, ask yourself these questions: Am I concerned that friendships will dilute my productivity? What would happen if I gave up the brand trait “diligent overachiever” and replaced it with “affable friend?”
In an article in Fast Company, Lydia Dishman observes, “Once, work was a major source of friendships. We took our families to company picnics and invited our colleagues over for dinner. Now, work is a more transactional place. We go to the office to be efficient, not to form bonds. We have plenty of productive conversations but fewer meaningful relationships.”To get you started, here’s a simple three-step process for increasing your friendship factor at work: 1. Be nostalgic.
Rekindle relationships. You’ve likely made many friends over your career – people from former employers and vendors you worked with – but time or distance let the air out of the friendship, and you’ve lost touch. It’s time to rekindle those friendships. Identify one or two people with whom you’d like to reconnect. Then reach out to them.2. Be curious.
You don’t need to always be interesting – instead, be interested. When you learn about others, you’ll find common connection points and interesting facts that will make it more likely that you’ll want to build a relationship with them. When you practice curiosity regularly, your friend quotient will increase along with your enjoyment of work.3. Be vulnerable.
If you stick to superficial talk, or you only talk about business, you’re probably being friendly, but those topics don’t spark real friendships. You might share a common annoyance about the weather or agree that the project you’re working on is moving too slowly, but if you can take the conversation a step further, the connections will be stronger in equal measure. When you are willing to be more authentic, open, and transparent, sharing a little more of who you are as a person, you can connect more deeply on an emotional level. That’s the way to create a good foundation for building a solid relationship.
Although it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking to expand your success and fulfillment at work, having work friends – and a BWF – is guaranteed to lift your spirits and your profile.