Before I knew about the existence of the now coined term “work wife,” I had one. As new team members, we both found ourselves learning the ins and outs of what it meant as young women to be part a new company. When we both felt down, we supported each other to make the most out of the tedious tasks of the day. Our friendship quickly moved through the levels of co-working and flourished in what I call a real-life work marriage.
We confided in each other about professional matters, always checked in with one another about office gossip, and eventually opened up about our personal relationships and goals. Whenever she was out of the office, I missed her terribly, sometimes even more than my personal partner.
One day, we joked about how we’ve suddenly become “work wives.” It was pretty straight-forward, we spent most of our days together, the things that mattered to one were important to the other one, we both worked towards the same goals, and we somehow were in it together.
But, I’m not alone. Around 50% of female employees and 44% of male employees said that they had a work spouse at one point in their career, according to a survey by SimplyHired.
So, What’s a Work Wife?
In a nutshell, a work spouse is a term we use to refer to a coworker, usually of the opposite sex, with whom you share a special relationship. Your relationship has grown in a way where you’ve developed bonds similar to those of a marriage.
Why Do We Find Work Spouses?
We’re wired to communicate with others. From an early age, we’re told to be open communicators, paying close attention to how people talk, move, and think to try your best to use similar tone of voice, words, and even body language when we’re communicating.
When you start engaging with someone this way for a long time, it’s natural for you to develop an affection for them. Not in a romantic way. Actually, research shows that these close relationships don’t lead to romantic relationships.
Why Do We Need Work Spouses?
The truth is that several studies suggest that having close friends in the workplace increases job satisfaction. By creating a sense of teamwork, having a work spouse also gives you a source of strength and resilience when things go sideways.
Not to mention, our careers are a huge portion of who we are as individuals and our daily life. Often, family members and out-of-work friends don’t have a real appreciation for what your career entails. A work spouse understands every aspect of your workplace, and is able to empathize with you at a deeper level.
Reasons to Find a Work Wife Today
If all the stuff I mentioned previously hasn’t convinced you yet, let me go into a bullet point list of why finding a working wife today will be the GR8EST thing you’ll do in your career.
- She will always have your back.
- She censors you (when needed).
- She lets you be real.
- She can improve your productivity.
- She can reduce stress.
- She will always encourage you when you’re down.
- She will always be your trusted confidant.
Do I Have a Work Wife Already?
Does all of this sound familiar? Most people have a work wife or work husband without realizing. Odds are you’re always together, you have inside jokes, you talk outside of work all the time, and you’re continually mocking each other.
My rule of thumb? If someone has already compared you to a marriage, you’re work spouses.
If you’re not sure, look out for these clear signs:
- You depend on a particular coworker for supplies, snacks, or an aspirin.
- You have inside jokes with a specific coworker.
- You can be bluntly honest with this person about almost anything. You’re comfortable enough to tell them that they have something on their teeth.
- When something is happening at work, this coworker is your go-to person to debrief.
- You take breakfast, lunch, and snack breaks at the same time.
- You can finish each other’s sentences.
- They know as much about your personal life as your real-life spouse does.
Take a minute to consider all these factors and think if you already have a work wife sitting close to you at the office. If you don’t, I encourage you to find one. My work wife moved on from the company, but there’s still a Post-It note that says “Forever Work Wife Goals” that reminds me that we’re still best friends, and that’s a pretty amazing relationship to have.