Everyone has a BFF at work. You know, the one you share inside jokes with, gossip with and even give a heads-up on the boss’s mood. Without quite realising, you become very close and spend your entire day together, gossiping. You feel like you’ve found your soul mate at work. When this soul mate is your work husband or work wife.
The term first appeared far back in 1930 in Faith Baldwin’s book ‘The Office Wife’ and is now a common norm used in almost every workplace.
Well, the BBC says it right, “the best fake marriages are the 9-5 kind.”
Who is a working wife?
Some people are married to work and then some people have work wives. A working wife isn’t your actual wife obviously. She is just a close colleague who you share a strong friendship with. If there’s a work-related activity, you bet you’re gonna do it with your work wife. But the relationship that you share is purely platonic. I.e. non-sexual and non-romantic. But you never know when this equation might get complicated.
Signs you have a working wife
Having a working wife makes you happier and more productive in your workplace. Your morale goes up and it reflects in your performance. Many people already have work spouses without even realising it. If you share an exclusive bond with someone in the workplace then you’ve already got your match! Look at these signs to know that you had a work wife all this time.
- You have lunch with her every day: You never sit alone and have your lunch. Your work wife is there to accompany you every day
- You have your fair share of inside jokes: Cracking jokes only your work wife can understand is a vibe. Sometimes just a smirk is enough for her to get the joke
- She is always there to support you: When you are buried under a load of work, she is there for emotional and mental support. You can always count on her to make your day better
- You leave each other gifts on the desk: You both like leaving small surprises on each other’s desks
- She knows everything: Be it your birthday or your marriage anniversary, she knows it all. You might even forget these days but she doesn’t and might even remind you
But all marriages have their downsides, even the 9-5 ones. Is your work marriage crumbling down too? Have you and your work wife crossed professional boundaries and worked into your personal life? Check out these signs.
13 signs your work wife is taking over your life
You may become very dependent on your work spouse and not be able to imagine an environment without them. It grows to the extent that you feel like you cannot function in the absence of your work spouse. You may not even switch your job for the fear of losing your work wife and let better opportunities go by. An emotional affair surfaces in your life and you wonder if it counts as cheating.
You may be accused of not giving enough attention towards your own family, and things may get complicated.
1. Your productivity takes a downward curve
While it is said that having a working wife increases productivity, it can also lower it. You tend to lose interest in your work and your motive for going to work slowly becomes spending time and gossiping with your work wife. Your boss begins to frown whenever you leave the desk even for a cup of coffee.
2. It gets personal with the work wife
When you get too close to our work wife, your personal and professional boundaries start blurring without you even realising it. You share your deepest secrets with her thinking that she is your confidant and your relationship with her turns personal. She starts doing the same and before you know it, you’re no longer just colleagues.
Related reading: The 9 Do’s And Don’ts Of Dating A Co-Worker
3. She drags you down with her
When two colleagues have the same level of intellect, they mutually help each other to perform better in work. But if your work wife is the exact opposite of employee of the month then she also drags you down with her. Her influence on your life will turn you into an average performer like her.
4. You have closed yourself to other relationships
You’re so involved with your work wife that the only relationship that you have at work is with her. You have left no room for any other friendly relations do develop with other colleagues hampering your work relations. They don’t see you as their friend and when you ask them for favours, they will be reluctant to oblige.
5. Calls don’t stay in the office
Your relation with your work wife doesn’t stay limited to the doors of your office. Both of you start having personal conversations that are far from just office goss. By continuing your relationship with her beyond your workplace, you both have crossed the boundary of only being work friends. Soon, you will start hanging out at off hours, if you haven’t already.
6. One of you starts catching feelings
If you don’t set ground rules and work within your boundaries, a time will come when emotions will take overwork and one of you gets feelings. When work relationships take a romantic and emotional turn, things get over complicated. This is when you should look for an exit from your work wife.
7. You don’t have a life of your own
By merging your work life with your personal life, you don’t actually have a separate life of your own. You’re constantly juggling between work and home and the responsibilities that come with both. If you’re constantly distracted at work one day you can find yourself buried in so much backlog that you may not have time to do anything else. You feel stuck with your work everywhere. It’s as if having to make one marriage work wasn’t enough, now you have to deal with working things out with your work wife too.
8. You prefer spending time with her instead of anyone else
You find yourself picking your work wife over your own family and friends more and more often. If given a choice between raving with your friend, dinner with your wife and kids and a movie with your work wife, you would pick the latter. You do this because you consider her company a refreshing change from your usual but trust us this feeling might not last forever.
9. Office becomes a battleground when she loses it
Your professional life no longer comprises of just work. You additionally have to deal with your work wife, especially if you are facing issues. No relationship is smooth sailing and you’re bound to face some issues with your work wife too. Since you share a personal relationship with her, you have to make up to her in case things turn south or vice versa. You cannot concentrate on your work because you must also give attention to her. In case you are the one who’s sour, you can’t help but demand attention from her either. You can no longer forget your personal problems at home because you have them at work as well.
10. You don’t have anyone else to go to
Your life suddenly revolves around your work wife. You have lost contact with your friends because of your newly found best friend. Most of your activities revolve around her, from grabbing lunch together to watching a movie. Everything involves her. You think that she is the solution to everything but in reality, you have unintentionally blocked out your other friends
11. Your actual partner feels threatened
Because of your close relations with your work wife, your actual girlfriend/wife feels threatened. She might get suspicious of your relationship with your work wife and jealousy and insecurity can creep into your relationship.
Well, you can’t blame her! See how close you two are!
12. You start taking credit for each other’s work
Do you ask each other to help you with big projects? You agree to help and before you know it, you’re doing it all. You want to help each other but on the other hand, it still seems to sting when only one of you gets credit for all that work. This is why boundaries are important while maintaining work relationships. It may not feel like a competition but it can turn out to be one.
13. She starts acting like a real wife, and you like a husband
Once you start sharing every detail, the nature of your relationship begins to change. You will start asking her opinion on everything. From the clothes you pick for work outings to what time you want to get off work. She does the same. Before you know it, you both will be influencing each other’s decisions outside of work as well. You’re behaving like actual spouses and you don’t know how to make it stop.
Related reading: Breached Lines, Broken Hearts: An Office Romance
Having a working wife, though quite rewarding, can have a flip side too. It is very important to set ground rules and adhere to them so that your relationship stays within the boundaries of professionalism. If your work wife is taking over your life without even leaving room for other relationships to evolve, it is time to break it off. Be careful who you get close to at work because it can hamper the overall atmosphere of your workplace. Remember that you come here to make a career and know what is at risk here!