I have always treasured the special relationship I have with my friends. I am the type of person who has always been surrounded by friends, both male and female. I spend a lot of time nurturing my friendships and I try very hard to be a good friend, including being loyal, kind, and considerate even during challenging times in our friendship (for example, during a divorce, death of a loved one, inclusion of a new romantic partner for one of us, and the usual things friends go through). There are some people who do not place the same high value on friendship that I do. These friends are the type of people who only maintain contact when they need help or a favor; who stay in touch only when they are not in an intimate relationship; who rarely initiate contact (saying “Oh, I know how busy you are” as if that were an excuse for being incommunicado); as well as those who just don’t seem interested in giving as much as taking (both literally and figuratively!). When I have invested my time, and part of my life, in a friendship, there are not many things or people that will be able to compete with my friend; my loyalty is well known to those who are close to me. Some of my friends, however, prefer to spend time with someone they just met, and whom they have little chance of seeing again, instead of enjoying the precious time we have together. When we were younger, it may have been more acceptable to desert one another upon meeting an interesting person (one night stands, anyone?), however, with each passing year, our time together seems more limited, and thus, more precious, than before. Being deserted, abandoned, or made to play second fiddle to a mere stranger is a sure way to lose my friendship. Think about it.
I guess this point is a matter of having priorities and keeping them straight. And, keeping them in alignment between friends. Being put in the second fiddle role indicates that one doesn’t value the friendship as much as the other. If that is the case, one has to ask, why continue the friendship? In a work context, the take away from the title of this blog goes in another direction. There have been very public examples of “one night stands” destroying careers in business or politics (I was recently reminded of the implosion of Gary Hart’s political career – though his monkey business, aboard the Monkey Business was more than a 1 nighter, I think). In our less high profile world there are issues in businesses of all sizes with sexual harassment or even consensual sexual interactions among co-workers – we’ve handled more than one case where those activities have exploded and caused much damage. And, though we have not had employee “hook ups” disrupt our business, it is something of a concern, or should be to all employers and managers, to make sure does not become a problem. Whether any dalliances occur or not, and well, they probably do or have, and whether they harm anyone or the business is not the point. The point is that the damage can be minimized by managerial awareness, having company policies, and by taking appropriate actions should one get even a hint of a problem. In business, perhaps more than with friends, preemptive actions help reduce the long term pain.