It makes sense.
The friendships we make affect all different parts of our lives, and change us. We learn from friends much needed lessons; sometimes lessons we didn't even know we needed to learn.
Some friends you have for your entire life and others for a short time, but the length of the friendship isn't an indicator of its value. A friend can be exactly like you or your polar opposite, and it's often the differences that help us to grow in surprising ways.
A recent study "Choosing the Company You Keep: Racial Relational Demography Outside and Inside of Work" looked into how people carry friendship patterns across the boundary of personal and work lives, and how employees' personal lives affect their job performance. It was conducted by Steffanie Wilk, associate professor of management and human resources at Ohio State University, and Erin Makarius, Ph.D.
The study said, "In this study, we focus on racial dissimilarity in choice relationships both outside and inside of work, and find that greater racial heterogeneity in choice relationships outside of work is related to positive affiliate outcomes at work, such as trust in supervisor and extra-role behaviors, through its effects on relationships inside of the workplace."
Simply put, "Employees who have a racially diverse group of friends do better at certain aspects of their jobs," says an article in Science Daily.
The study looked at 222 people who worked in customer service centers at a large financial institution. These employees worked with customers to fix problems and sell products.
The company encouraged employees to get to know each other so they could share information and help each other with questions. The researchers surveyed the employees and the supervisors.
Employees were asked to list up to five people in their personal network of friends and list each person's race. They were also asked to select up to 10 people who were in their network of friends at work.
Results showed that people who had more friends of differing races outside of work also had a more diverse group of friends among their co-workers. Workers with more racially diverse friends outside of work were given higher ratings by their bosses on their level of team spirit and went beyond their roles to help the company.
"Your friends outside of work actually have this connection to how you behave in the workplace, through the shaping of your relationships at your job," said Wilk in an interview with The Ohio State University News.
People who have a diverse friend group in their personal lives have a tendency to build similarly diverse friendship groups in the workplaces.
"They're more likely to see their ingroup — the people they most identify with — as a broader group of people which includes those of different racial backgrounds. And we tend to help people in our ingroup. That means they are being more helpful to more of their work colleagues. Supervisors notice that." Wilk said.
But the most important thing to remember is that real friendships can't be forced; they have to evolve naturally, Wilk says.
Friendship can be a powerful tool — not just in your personal life, but in every aspect of your life.