My good friend Cat and I have recently added another question to the usual catch-up. We’ve got the usual how are you doing, how’s the husband, how are your parents, and now we always ask “how’s the work-wife?”
I touched on this once when I commented on DM’s space, but for those of you who don’t know, a “work-wife” is a person that you work with, of the opposite sex, with whom you develop a close relationship. It’s a strange situation. Day after day, through pimples and bad hair days, the loss of loved ones, whatever, the work spouse is there.
So, having acknowledged that the work-spouse does, in fact, exist I was intrigued when I saw an MSN video clip on the very subject. The video purported to give advice on how to handle office relationships “appropriately.” Well, I’m new to whole working-with-a-man thing, so I’m eager to watch this little video. I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to condone borrowing money and throwing cap erasers at your colleagues. Not that I would ever do that. The video was basically a bunch of early-morning crap, but at the end it cautioned against having “an emotional affair.” I’d never heard of this (probably because I don’t have time to watch TV in the morning—I’m too busy running around WAY after I should have left trying to find a certain pair of shoes). I googled “emotional affair” on the internet and found an exciting quiz you can take on this topic provided by Dr. Shirley Glass. I, like any girl raised in the Age of Cosmo was eager to take this quiz. Was the quiz a pile of crap? You betcha, so I’ll share it with you here. I won’t reprint the whole thing—just my personal favorites. If you want to read the whole deal than go to her website.
OK, When I wrote this next part it was supposed to be funny, but I don’t think anyone got that. Sorry.
- Do you confide more to your friend than to your partner about how your day went? To the extent that my day is actually taking place in front of this person, yes. Confide? I’m not so sure—does “they’re having sloppy Joes in the cafeteria” count? I don’t think I mentioned that to the Hub.
- Do you discuss negative feelings or intimate details about your marriage with your friend but not with your partner? Does writing about your husband’s farts on the internet count? I cc’d him a copy of the entry, so I think I’m in the clear on this one too.
- Would you feel comfortable if your partner heard your conversation with your friend? AND Would you feel comfortable if your partner saw a videotape of your meetings? My husband is more than welcome to hear me whisper, “can you believe she’s wearing that?” or the even more scintillating, “I can’t WAIT to teach these kids integers next year—it’s going to be AWESOME” (I realize that I am a complete dork). Would I want a video tape? Not really, but that’s because no one needs to see themselves yelling at children, arguing with children, and dragging children down to the principal’s office. Not that I would ever do that.
- Do you and your friend touch differently when you’re alone than in front of others? Uh, I’m not touching anybody at work. That just seems a little weird.
- Are you in love with your friend? What kind of pile of crap is this quiz?—if I am in LOVE with my friend then clearly I don’t need this quiz. This is really the only question needed. Or, if you’re at this point and you need a quiz to help you figure things out then you need more help than a dopey website can provide.
So, I guess I’m in the clear. Here’s my two cents on the work-spouse. I’d stay far, far away if the other person is single or makes sexual innuendos. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. Remember that your work-friends are getting paid to be there—your real spouse isn’t. And most importantly, who’s gonna bring you chicken soup when you’re throwing up sick?
I’m traveling today, so it may take me a little bit longer to get back with everyone, but I’ll be around–no worries.
This quiz by Shirley P. Glass was first printed in USA Today (June 20, 1988) in an article by Karen Peterson, "When platonic relationships get too close for comfort," p. 6D.