You've Got A Friend In Me

"Folks are like plants; We all lean toward the light" - Kris Carr

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Spring is such a delight for me. The sun is more vibrant, the clouds fluffy and trailing, and the clear gentle breezes go this way and that. Spring also brings a lot of work for me as I energetically go out to cut back all the dead growth in my beds - only to ramble hours later into the house moving slowly and with a marked soreness! This ritual continues for a few weeks until all my garden beds are clean, freshened with wood chips, and new "friends" join the plants from past seasons.
In a way, spring clean up at my house  is like Christmas. As I pull away all the dead growth not only am I greeted by fresh green growth,  but I discover plants springing out that I had forgotten were there. At times I can't remember exactly what some plants are until they put on more growth. All of  a sudden I have some "ah ha" moments and am delighted. This time of year reminds me so much of meeting new friends as I wander in my gardens. I haven't seen them for quite some time yet, I love "reacquainting" myself with each and everyone of them. Some plants were planted last season and are "new" friends. Others are established and never fail to disappoint me with their beauty and stature.
It's times in my garden like this that I really appreciate all that I have and the beauty springing forth around me. Indeed, I really like to think of some of my plants as old friends and it always puts a smile on my face as we meet again after a long, cold, harsh winter.
This spring is especially meaningful for me. I recently sprang into a new job opportunity and every day is full of new learning experiences and discovering new friends. It's a delight to go to work each day with a sense of discovery and wonder - just like wandering in a spring garden. Sadly, I just left some work friends goodbye however, my new venture offers new friendships ahead. How are your work friendships and what do you do to grow them?
"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend" - Albert Camus
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Some people don't want work friendships. They stay with old ways of  thinking that work and personal lives should be kept separate. Huh? Considering that we all spend 8-10 hours a day (at least) with people at work we really NEED to make friends at work. The benefits keep us healthy and engaged.
Why you need "work friends"
  • You spend more time at work than with your family. A healthy life means healthy relationships with those that you are around the most. Be healthy. Seek out some work friends.
  • You will want to go to work everyday and look forward to being with people that you like and understand you.
  • You will feel more motivated and engaged working with those that you like and respect.
  • Friends are a great support system. Who better to understand you then those that see you in your work role? Work friends understand your struggles and frustrations better than anyone.
  • Friends help bring about a sense of belonging and team.
  • You know what? You really will care more about your work because you know that what you do can impact those around you - your buds.
  • You will learn so much more from work friends. You feel more comfortable asking questions, sharing ideas, and asking for advice.
  • Sometimes work friendships grow into mentoring opportunities. Mentors get to know the "real" you and may see the gifts that can be unlocked inside.
  • Friends really do make us happy!

 Clearly work friendships can be the start of something new and open up opportunities. I'm eagerly looking forward to building more relationships and finding new friends in the weeks ahead. In large companies it's often easier said than done. People are busy, schedules are in conflict, there are often already a variety of friend groups. Remember high school? It never really leaves us.

Here are some suggestions for how to make new friends

  • Smile with all of your mind and body. Be genuine.
  • Take an interest in others. Be very curious.
  • Make others feel important and really listen.
  • Ask questions and be genuine in learning all that you can about others.
  • Admit any mistakes or misunderstanding right away. Be sincere.
  • Don't gossip!
  • As Dale Carnegie always said, "Don't criticize, condemn, or complain".
  • Don't stop trying to form relationships. Some people are shy and really need time to open up and connect with other people.
  • Be helpful and offer to shoulder more workload from others.
  • Jump into social opportunities and accept invitations to connect outside of work.
  • Volunteer with coworkers on projects or in the community.
  • Seek out other people outside of your department or even location.
  • Ask people to lunch or for coffee.
  • Bring in treats.
  • Be real and be a friend.
Do you have any other suggestions to make some friends at work? Relationships are what make us human and really help us grow. Go out and uncover some friends this week! I know that I will be uncovering some new opportunities to connect........