Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Beautiful Friendships.

Have you ever fallen for a coworker?

I don't mean "fallen" in the romantic way. I mean it in the way that allows you to discover a real kinship with someone that you never would have sought out, just because you walk into the same office every day. You say your good mornings, you silently tolerate injustices together, you commiserate over shared hurdles, and you accidentally discover someone great. I still think of awesome people that I met at work: Some are now far away or long out of touch, but I remember jokes they made, ways they operated, stories they told.

Have you ever worked someplace where you have no connection to the people around you? You walk in there and it's all polite, but you wouldn't care if you never saw those people again. It's like a never-ending doctor's appointment. That's what makes the jobs with cool people all the more precious.

I met one of my best friends when he joined our "news" organization in New York in 1998. When he started work, he was always extremely nervous about doing something wrong and I thought he was way too concerned about things. He was the Fretful New Guy, and that's all he was to me. Then one day I was talking to no one in particular about a radio station in Washington. "Oh Christina," he said, turning around in his chair. "Do you know D.C. radio?" Thus, a friendship was born.

Other connections have not been so long-lived. I once joined a team of five people that made my job, and my life at the time, bearable because of the amount of fun we had. Every day, we filed into the conference room for our story meeting, and that was probably the best part of my day. But one of us eventually left the company, then another one, and two remaining people paired off and got married. I'm only friends with one of them now, but it was fun while it lasted.

My newest work coterie consists of myself and three other people. We should probably be sick of each other by now from the amount of socializing that we do on top of work, but somehow we aren't.

This quadro-friendship seems all the more sweet because it seems unlikely to last. Three of us are single and the other is married but with no real responsibilities. We are all at various stages of the honeymoon with our employer. At some point, something is bound to bring down our happy dynamic: a new job, a move, a new attachment, a falling-out. Something will happen, and things will not be the same. I guess one benefit of age is that your enjoyment of things as they are is enhanced by the awareness that they will eventually change.


  1. Yes, that's the amazing thing with any situation in life where you cannot and do not choose with whom you associate--families are much the same way. I've met some fabulous co-workers and I have worked with some people I would quickly forget, but I'll never forget those people---just as you say--that I would never have sought out in life but met through a working environment.

  2. Anonymous1:13 AM

    Oh Christina, thanks for lettin' a sistah roll! (alternatively, would you like to order a side of cole slaw with your Minnie Riperton "Memory Lane"? I'm ordering from Cafe 96!)

  3. Anonymous10:07 PM

    I just spent 30 minutes earlier today trying to remember all the lyrics to "The Water Dance." I only remember like two lines.

    I've never worked with anyone I became good friends with. I attribute this to my natural emotional standoffishness.

  4. I made the mistake of falling for my pimp. Never forget that it's business first.

  5. It's a funny kind of relationship in the workplace--similar to one's family in the sense that you may not have sought out your co-workers if you were to be picking and choosing friends in your everyday life, but there is certainly something to learning to appreciate others in ways you never thought you would because of a circumstance like your workplace.


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