When Worlds Collide: Friends from Work vs. Friends at Work
Skolny Organization

#GTIdeology Rejoinder: On Being Vulnerable

It seems to me the biggest reason that it is “weird” when different circles of friends intersect is because it is exposing more of us to more people.

Consider that most people are multi-faceted — I’d dare say that those who are not, but are the same where ever and with whomever they are are either trite and shallow or plastic and phony — with a myriad of interests, proclivities, behaviors, and peculiarities that come to fore in different situations.

That is not phoniness. It is depth of personhood.

But, and it is an important but, there can be wide variances of behavior. That’s what marks appropriateness: Being “authentic” is always being the same person. Not acting the same in every situation.

The weirdness comes in when people who have not seen us act in certain ways suddenly, through the friends who have seen that side of us, get to learn of it. It’s a matter of being vulnerable, putting ourselves out there, and allowing people getting to know us better.

How It Relates to Work

I also think it’s fair to say that the weirdness is greater at work than in social settings.

It nearly approaches stigma and I put it to you that is because work is phony. We are taught, and assume, that work is not a place for vulnerability or allowing others to have any insight into the human us that might require real trust. That, of course, precludes real friendship.

And that is why our real friends — who do know the real us — tend to make us uncomfortable at work: Because even authentic people are typically facades of themselves at work. Not phony per se (though of course many are just that), but shallow or hidden.

But here’s the question: Are trust and purpose really possible among people who don’t know each other? The 7th Radical Idea says no.

Of course, any sort of vulnerability at work assumes a functional culture comprising functional people who trust each other. That’s rarely the case — and what makes the Idea radical.