Why friendships at work matter – what every beginner should know (Blog #16)

friends at work

This week I want to talk to you about friendships at work and why they matter.

And just as a reminder. Don’t forget that every week I’ll be sharing with you something that I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world.


So this process of you starting to believe in yourself gets put on steroids and you become a leader that will actually make a difference in the workplace.

Trust me there in need big time!

Why are friendships at work important?

You’re probably thinking if I do my work and listen to my manager, how can the people around me affect me? Right?

Or, you’re even thinking… working with friends, god no! That’s not a good idea. What a way to ruin a friendship.

Well, first of all, I’m not talking about your school friends here or friends you use to run amok with. I’m talking about the people who you meet at work. Their adults. Mature adults (hopefully). Developing friendships with them.

Now, I’m assuming that you’re either completing a business degree or have completed one. Then you’ve probably done your fair share of group assignments.

Some would’ve gone really well and some would’ve been a nightmare because the people in your group didn’t pull their weight. Didn’t produce good work or were just really difficult to work with. And by the time you finished your assignment you were happy to see the back of them, hoping that you never have anything to do with them again.

I know. I’ve been there. It can be horrible.

Now it’s one thing having to put up with that type of experience with one or two uni assignments, but imagine if you had it every day you were at work.

And if you don’t have much experience in the workforce you’re probably thinking surely it can’t get that bad? People at work get paid so they have to behave decently.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the fact that people get paid to be at work doesn’t prevent a toxic environment from developing.

What do I mean by toxic environment?

When the majority of people there (about 99.9%) hate their job. Avoid communicating as much as possible and will only do the bare minimum that will cover their butts. And won’t care about the job after it leaves their hands.

Team work also doesn’t mean much to people in this type of environment. Although, they may acknowledge that they’re in a team, there is no trust, there is no looking out for each other. It’s all about taking care of your own butt. And as a result the simplest things can be made unnecessarily agonising.

And the sad thing is that you’ll find that the vast majority of workplaces are like this. Live your Legend’s Scott Dinsmore’s research proved that more than 80% of people out there hate their job. You can check out his TedTalk here.

And most people, managers included, don’t know any different. According to them it’s normal.

Hence, why I say to you that relying on your manager may not get you far.

But I don’t want you to ever accept this as normal. You’ll end up being one really shitty person to work with, becoming as miserable as many people I’ve seen in the corporate world.

How group work at uni taught me the importance of work friendships

During my Masters degree in marketing I completed almost all of my group assignments with the same two friends. We met in our first subject and worked in our first group assignment together. It was amazing how with every assignment we worked on we got better at working as a group. We leveraged off of each other’s strengths, helped each other deal with our weaknesses and leaned on each other for support during those long uni days and those yucky exam weeks.

In the process we began good friends that trusted and respected each other, which helped to make those never-ending uni assignments easier to get done. It wasn’t that bad doing it together with teammates who cooperated. As with trust and respect comes cooperation. This is what gets the job done, easily and effectively.

And when it’s this type of team you’re working in, it’s amazing how stress doesn’t seem to exist.


Because you’re in a team that’s got your back.

What most managers aren’t getting?

Trust and respect are not instructions that you can give people to follow.


Because these are feelings that develop over time, which is exactly what I experienced with the group I worked together with at uni.

A manager saying that we need to respect and trust each other does nothing. In fact, there is almost no point in saying this.

Actions speak louder than words.

The focus needs to be placed on developing genuine relationships (friendships) among colleagues.


Follow the world of start-ups. It’s people in this area that seem to be getting it right.

When they talk about having weekly drinks, lunches and yoga classes together, it’s all with the aim of their employees getting closer.


When you look forward to seeing your colleagues at work every day, it’s funny how much more enjoyable work can be. And the results for the company only go up.

And if you think being friends with the people you work with is impossible than simply read my blog post #4 – I don’t need to be friends with the people I work with.” Wrong! Yes, you do! This is where I talk about my job #8 and how I can truly say we were all friends and I compare it to job #9 where this wasn’t the case.

Blog #16 Tip:

To really dive deep into what I’m talking about in this blog post check out Simon Sinek’s TedTalk – How great leaders inspire action. It’s about 18 mins long. Trust me, you listen to this and you’re already ahead of most managers I’ve come across.

His book called “Leaders eat last” is also one of the best reads I’ve come across in regards to this topic. If you’re strapped for time focus on chapter 20 – Leadership Lesson 4: Friends matter.

What are your thoughts?
Have you experienced firsthand what I’m talking about?
Tell me about your experience.
Have you enjoyed working in groups? Or, have you found it quite difficult?

If you know someone that will benefit from this blog post – please share it.

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today.

See you next week.


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