Yesterday was the last day at work for one of my favourite colleagues. She was leaving to return to New Zealand, to be closer to her family. I had known her for about two years as one of my most friendly and dedicated volunteers.
Image courtesy of morgufile
Although we only saw each other for a few hours on a Monday morning, I had always looked forward to her arrival. We would catch up and chat before going about our day.
I have always been wary of forming friendships with work colleagues or volunteers in an effort to maintain a balance between my work life and my personal life. There have been a couple of incidents in the past where that line was blurred and it made things very awkward.
Image courtesy of flickr
Sadly though, with this particular woman, it wasnít until she told me that she was leaving that I began to regret not having pursued a closer friendship with her. After all, we had much in common which is what drew me to her in the first place, and I think we would have been able to maintain the balance.
Seeing her leave yesterday was hard, not only because I liked her so much, but because I knew she was sad to leave. She was torn between her responsibility to her family and the life she had made here in Australia.
We exchanged details and promised to keep in touch, joking about having a free place to crash whenever I might visit New Zealand in the future, but all the while I was remembering another colleague (also a volunteer) who moved away several years ago. Though we had promised to remain in touch, we gradually drifted apart due to the distance between us and the 'busy-ness' of life.
Image courtesy of pixabay
The message Iím trying to convey here is this: If you like someone and enjoy their company, let them know. If your heart is telling you that there is a possibility of friendship, take the plunge. A little awkwardness if it doesnít work out is a small risk if itís handled maturely.
Donít wait until they move away. Donít allow yourself to miss out on the possibility of spending even a limited amount of time with a kindred spirit just because they are a work colleague. Itís possible to be both.