Why The Friendship You Have With Your Work Wife Is Like No Other
If you've been lucky enough to be blessed with a 'work wife', you often wonder how you survived a workplace without one.
Yet unlike the bond you share with a childhood best friend or even a long time partner, there's something uniquely special about the one you have with your work wife.
Yes, they're the person you ping to vent when another two hour work meeting is going around in circles and the one you share office in-jokes with.
But they're also so much more than that. They're the person who has a coffee in their hand and an ear at the ready when you have something important to tell them, work related or otherwise.
Most importantly, a work wife is one of the few who still respects you but can put you in your place when you need it. They walk a fine line between indulging you and telling you when you need to cut it out as required.
But why? Well more often than not, the relationship you forged with your work wife is one that was formed under immense work-related pressure.
You might have been thrown onto the same project together at the last minute that has a super tight turn around or you might be the two people sharing a desk on the weekend in a quiet and deserted office with only each other (and the office hermit crabs) for company.
Adulting is hard and sometimes getting through a workplace unscathed is even harder. That's why the relationship you're left with is much like a diamond, they're basically formed in the same way.
10 daily spoke to clinical counsellor and psychotherapist Julie Sweet to find out more about what makes a work wife friendship so different:
1. You're together more than you are with anyone else.
Since we spend approximately one third of our life at work, Sweet said having an interpersonal relationship with someone in the workplace is a gift.
"To have a relationship with someone you feel respected by and that is present is significant, so that’s why ‘work wives’ are so important," she said.
"It’s a relationship unlike any other as it grounds us in the ‘here and now’ and that can be distinctively different to our other relationships."
2. You share similar experiences in the workplace.
According to Sweet, having similar experiences as someone, like those that happen in the workplace, can help you to feel like your work wife 'gets you' and it can feel normalising and reassuring.
"When a trusted connection is established and our feelings are reciprocated, it’s a safe space for people to feel secure. This facilitates the opportunity to be able to disclose matters close to the heart," she said.
"It’s where bonds like these can be strong, so strong that they can be the type of relationships that bind well after the employment from where the relationship first began, comes to an end."
3. They understand problems that no one else could.
Sweet said a big part of the reason we feel like our work wives understand our problems so deeply is because they are an external source to draw upon, outside of our home and personal lives.
"As human beings connectivity is essential, we need each other and the affects of having authentic relationships in our lives, aside from our inner circle of intimate relationships, family and friends, having a ‘work wife’ is enriching," she said.
"Social connection is as important to us as our basic needs like shelter and food, so it’s not only good for our mental health, it’s vital for our brain health, physical well-being and spirit."
Some work wife friendships can be so close that when one leaves the workplace for another position, it can cause feelings of loss and even sorrow, according to Sweet.
"There can even be a mourning period. It can feel like a form of grief, where individuals grieve the relationship that once was, at that particular time, within the same organisation they shared with their ‘work wife," Sweet said.
"People can lament and miss what once was, fearing they’ll not have that unique relationship again. Many report feelings of loneliness, isolation and melancholy once their work wife’ moves on."
But while a work wife may move into a new job, it allows an opportunity for your friendship to transcend into a new space outside of the four walls of the office.
So to all the work wives on Galentine's Day, thank you for making work life just that much easier. You're more special than you realise.