There’s value in doing weird things together.
Now hear me out. I know, it sounds strange, but it’s true! Even science says so. The bonds that you form over shared strange experiences are oftentimes unbreakable, hilarious, and makes for great chemistry. Aziz Ansari did the research for his book Modern Romance (I’m late to the game reading this, but its still current. Plus his show’s second season premiered this weekend, so I’m timely!!) and the proof is in the pudding.
Aziz’s argument, Chapter 4 Choice and Options page 144 was this:
There is social science that shows that more interesting dates can lead to more romantic success. Arthur Aron conducted a study titled “Couples’ Shared Participation in Novel and Arousing Activities and Experiments Relationship Quality” where he took 60 couples who were doing okay and had them (a) participate in activities that were novel and exciting (eg. Skiing, hiking), (b) participate in activities that were pleasant/ mundane (eg. Dinner, movie), or (c) participate in no activity (this was the control group). The couples that did the novel and exciting activities showed a significantly greater increase in relationship quality. [So] if you trust that Aron and his colleagues aren’t bullshitting us, it seems like participating in novel and exciting activities increases our attraction to people.
So how does that apply to your co-workers?
Now, while his book was talking specifically about dating (and most of my co-workers are happily married to their lovely partners. Sorry folks, I know they’re fabulous, but they’re pretty much locked down), I think it applies to relationships in the workplace as well.
Think about it. Sure, you form a bond when you go eat company lunch together. You can have a shared experience over how lack-luster the soup du jour was that day and how the service was just frightful.
But you can form that bond with anyone. If you turned around at that same lunch and talked to your nearest neighbor, you could form that same bond. (Sorry lunch neighbor, our bond over Larry taking FOREVER to bring fresh bread was superficial and could be found anywhere.)
The Great Bond Unbreakable
Now these bonds are valuable. Everyone needs to share a good meal together. But what about sharing those truly memorable moments together? The moments where you have to figure out how to march like Stormtroopers in sync without falling over, taking directions from two former bandies, all while wearing matching knee high socks. Those are the moments where you form a bond that is stronger than the lunch bond. Those are the moments you can share with your co-workers and laugh about for months to come. The moments that make you realize we are all very different but boy when we work together, as co-workers or as MB109B Infantry, Barker & Christol Division, we can make amazing things happen.