How To Discern A Friend From A Co-Worker

women in the workplace

Us women spend so much time in the workplace, some of us would hate to admit this but, it can be considered your “home” away from home. You invest a lot of time in your place of employment and more time than you think. Don’t believe me, check out the breakdown below:

There are 120 hours in a work week (the 5 weekdays.)

Out of 5 weekdays, the average woman will spend about 40 hours at work. That’s 33% of your weekday spent in the workplace.

Out of those 5 days, women may get an average of  7 hours to sleep, assuming you go to bed by 10:30pm and wake up before 6am. That’s a total of 30% of your weekday.

You may spend 10% commuting whether through public transportation, carpooling or driving. If you get stuck in traffic on a daily basis then you would have more time subtracted  from your week.

On average you may have 27% of that week (32 hours),  including other activities and errands, which will be categorized as after-work life. If you are not sociable or involved in other activities after work, this makes for a deeper revelation on your relationships.

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Forming relationships at work is inevitable!

It is our job, now to discern what kind of relationships we are forming and how to become wise in realizing who is a friend and who is just a co-worker. I can write a list of friend characteristics, but honestly that blog post would be sooooo long because what we consider a friend and what the Bible considers a friend, is two polar opposites. You also can have seasonal friendships; every friend was not intended for your future. but a season that contributes to your future. So what I have done was share Co-Worker characteristics to help you become more aware of what a “work associate” looks like.

Co-Worker Characteristics:

  • Nice, friendly, cordial, funny, relatable. Some co-workers are just nice people and thats’ all. Don’t confuse charm and courtesy with friendship.
  • Conversation is limited, only have interest in talking of work-related issues. Coworker relationships usually have no depth in commonalities and may often times only use conversations to complain about management, relationship problems, shopping or family interest. You may realize they could be a person who just likes to complain or share personal information about themselves. Most co-workers just look for conversation and comfort and they believe that is friendship.
  • Have not proven themselves through testing times, whether on your job or in your life experiences. Has this co-worker proven themselves or their loyalty to you, besides grabbing an extra donut for you from the break room? When has their trust been tested? How do they act or react when things don’t go well within the “friendship”? If you do not have enough experiences with this person to answer these questions, rethink, why you consider them your friend?
  • Will celebrate you, encourage you, even admire you. Flattery should not be the basis of a friendship. If you believe that people who compliment you and admire you, automatically qualify them as friends, you may have to self-evaluate how you feel about yourself.
  • Latch on to you for a season, temporarily, and once they find another person with greater benefits or commonalities, the relationship dynamic changes.
  • Relationship dynamic may change once they leave the job (or you leave the job) or become promoted in another field (or you become promoted to another field), you find that you have nothing else in common. This very common with work relationships, you truly have to access, the motives of people. Use your discernment and find out who sent this person, God or the devil. It’s that serious.


God will send some great people whom you will cross paths with, while at work. Call it a blessing and get to know these people. It is okay to have connections and associates, but everyone at work is NOT a friend.

My question to you is, how intentional are you about forming other relationships outside of work?

Stop feeling pressured to give a co-worker that have common interest the “friend” title. Most of you feel pressured to have friends at work because your social life outside of work is null in void. Get out in this world, speak to people, join groups and do activities to pursue relationships outside of the workplace. Just because you spend a lot of time with people does not qualify them as your friend. Remember, the job, assignment or career is what brought you all together, and some relationships do not go farther than that, just work.


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