Once, work was a major source of friendships. We took our families to company picnics and invited our colleagues over for dinner. Now, work is a more transactional place. We go to the office to be efficient, not to form bonds. We have plenty of productive conversations, but fewer meaningful relationships.
In 1985, about half of Americans said they had a close friend at work; by 2004, this was true for only 30 percent. And in nationally representative surveys of American high school seniors, the proportion who said it was very important to find a job where they could make friends dropped from 54 percent in 1976, to 48 percent in 1991, to 41 percent in 2006.
We may start companies with our friends, but we don’t become friends with our co-workers. “We are not only ‘bowling alone,’ ” Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford, observes, “we are increasingly ‘working alone.’ ”
Adam Grant, “Friends at Work? Not So Much”, New York Times (6 September 2015), SR1.