If the only laugh lines you have are from watching late-night Seinfeld reruns on TBS, you need to get some real friends. When was the last time you had a conversation with a friend who made you laugh? More importantly, when was the last time you actually felt you could cry with a good friend who wouldn’t judge you? If you don’t have friends like that, maybe now’s the time to consider going beyond your current circle of friends (or all those online LinkedIn connections. Would you ever want any of them to see you with streaked mascara? I didn’t think so.)
Be proactive about cultivating, engaging and caring about people you really want as friends, and weed out the ones who don’t feel that way about you. In this day and age it’s too easy to rationalize that there are many other things we need to be doing work- and family- wise rather than spending time with friends. Yet, connections with true friends and family members are what matters to our well-being. Plus, even the most self-interested headhunters will tell you that networking that benefits your connections as well as your own agenda is the best way of finding a terrific job.
According to psychoanalyst, educator and author, Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., positive social interactions are a powerful mechanism for controlling stress. As women talk with other women about worrisome occurrences in their lives, their stress levels fall because oxytocin (the maternal friendship and bonding hormone) levels rise. Even during non-stressful times, having solid friendships has been proven to improve health and extend one’s lifespan.
To be best at work, you need to be balanced; connecting with your friends keeps you sane, helps you keep perspective, and recharges your batteries for the next business day!