Tag Archives: Friendship

Stop Asking: “Are You OK?”

A few weeks ago, I levelled a criticism at parents who attempt to dissuade their children from feeling their feelings in the moment. That is, as soon as they begin to cry, parents usually try to quash the children’s feeling by saying, “You’re OK,” or “You’re fine.” I think that this same attitude carries on when parents (or people) are dealing with older children (or other people) and something happens.

Consider a couple of teenagers who are playing soccer. One of them falls down and ceases playing for a couple of seconds. Almost always, the teenager who hasn’t fallen will immediately say to the other, “Are you OK?” I’m sure we’ve all been the teenager who’s fallen and scraped our knee and I’m sure we’ve all been the teenager who asks our friend if they’re OK, but this is an extension of the problem that begins when we’re toddlers — we’re not allowing the person the space to feel the feelings that they’re feeling.

By quickly jumping in and asking, “Are you OK?” one probably thinks that they’re being a good friend. My friend has just hurt themselves, so I should ask and see if they’re okay. Certainly, that’s the right spirit. However, by jumping in so quickly, it’s actually demonstrating to your friend that you’re uncomfortable with their pain/feelings. Let’s say that your friend starts to cry. Forgot that, let’s say that you have just begun to cry. When you’re crying, do you really want someone to ask how you’re doing? Well, if you’ve been asked that you’re whole life, you probably do, but if you stop and think about it for a second, when you’re crying (or when you’re upset), the best thing for you is space.

I’m not saying you (or your friend) should walk away when you (or your friend) begins to cry, no. Instead, you (or your friend) should sit there with you and allow you the space to feel the feelings — let you cry. After an acceptable amount of time (this varies), then it might be appropriate to break the silence, but if it were me, I’d actually wait until the person who’s crying begins saying something. By simply being there with your friend in their time of need, you’re holding a safe space that allows them to process their emotions/feelings. And if/when you do that, you’ll be giving your friend a gift they probably haven’t had the chance to experience.

Is There Really Less Turnover in Fun Workplaces?

In first considering this question, my reflexive response is — of course! But do you know why fun contributes to less turnover? Hold onto that thought and see if it turns out to be the same answer that researchers came up with earlier this year.

Three researchers took a closer look at fun and the workplace. Specifically, they looked at how three forms of fun affected turnover: fun activities, coworker socializing, and manager support for fun. They looked at almost 300 servers (from 20 restaurants) at national restaurant chains in the US. So right away, we need to be careful generalizing these results outside of the service industry and in particular, servers at restaurants in the service industry. The results:

First, this research demonstrated that fun is significantly related to employee turnover, serving to further validate claims in the popular management press that fun has a beneficial impact on individuals and organizations. Second, this research highlighted that only some forms of fun relate directly to employee turnover. These results signal the importance of focusing on the component parts of workplace fun, rather than treating fun as a single construct, as has been done in other research (Fluegge, 2008; McDowell, 2004). Third, this research demonstrated that constituent attachment is a key mediator in the fun−turnover relationship. In doing so, this research has helped to answer how and why fun impacts the turnover process.

That third and final point is the key: constituent attachment is a key mediator in the fun-turnover relationship. Meaning, relationships/friendships at work help to mitigate one’s likelihood of quitting. And one way of enhancing relationships/friendships at work? Fun. That is, fun can facilitate the opportunities by which co-workers can get to know each other and develop relationships. By doing so, employees are less likely to quit.

So, while the research helped to confirm previously held thoughts about fun having an impact on employee turnover, the important discovery here is that fun isn’t the “end,” but merely the means to an end. By promoting and facilitating fun in a workplace environment, a manager can create the opportunity for employees to develop relationships.

As the researchers mention in the discussion section, I wonder how generalizable these results can be across industries. Of course, there’d need to be more research to validate it’s reliability in other industries, but my guess is that the results are going to hold across certain industries. For instance, I’d imagine that many office cultures that are similar to the restaurant industry might show a similar effect. That is, office cultures that have ups and downs in workloads, like you would find in the restaurant industry.

ResearchBlogging.orgM. J. Tews, J. W. Michel, & D. G. Allen (2014). Fun and friends: The impact of workplace fun and constituent attachment on turnover in a hospitality context Human Relations DOI: 10.1177/0018726713508143

10 Things That I Can Do to Help Someone Else

It’s no secret that humans need each other to survive. With the way that our society is designed, we depend on each other for sustenance, love, friendship, and a whole host of other things. It’s not just in the big ways, though, too. Sometimes, we need someone to hold the door open for us because we have our hands full. Sometimes, we need someone to bail us out of a sticky situation. Maybe a nice stranger gives up the aisle seat on a transatlantic flight, so that it’ll be easier for you to walk around the plane with your newborn. There are lots of ways we can help each other out on this journey through life. As a result, I thought I’d list a few ideas about how I [you] can help someone else.

1. Ask, “What can I do to help you today?” Sometimes the simplest ways of helping [asking], can have the biggest impact.

2. Help someone find a job. If you have an unemployed friend, think about the people you know and if you might be able to connect your friend with a new opportunity.

3. Smile at a stranger. It’s contagious.

4. Do a chore that isn’t yours. It can be something small like washing the dishes or sweeping the kitchen. It could also be something big like doing the research for that trip to Tahiti or cutting the lawn.

5. Teach someone only something you know. The gifts you have in this world might not be realized until you share them with the world.

6. Let someone teaching you something. It’s also a great gift to let someone teach you something. Remember to keep an open mind

7. Be passionate about something. Maybe more than smiling, passion is contagious. Watching someone be really excited about something reminds us that we, too, have something that excites us in a similar way.

8. Listen — REALLY listen. It might come as no surprise to you how often conversations are really just about “waiting for your time to speak.” The next time someone is talking to you, really listen to what they have to say. It might shock you how the conversational dynamic changes.

9. Forgive him/her. Is holding that grudge really worth it?

10. Write a letter, send an email, and/or make a phone call to someone who has made a difference in your life. These little drops of gratitude can go a long way. I can guarantee you that hearing they made in a difference in your life will greatly brighten that person’s day.