Do your coworkers form friendships with residents?


Smiling elder lady with blanket and glasses listening to her nurse reading a book during free time

After an exchange of comments about friendships in today’s world, this true story came to me:

“UPS in my neck of the woods, otherwise called a neighborhood, many of us have formed an unusual friendship . . with the UPS driver! He is so friendly, considerate, and kind that even though we only know his first name, we all consider him a friend.

Many of us meet for lunch at the local café on Main Street in town.  We learned that the UPS guy has lunch there every Friday. To show our appreciation, one of my group of friends occasionally pre-pays for his lunch. The lunch prices run fairly close so it is easy to just cover a general cost, including a tip. He never knows which one of us does it.

It is funny, whenever I see the brown UPS truck coming up a street I’m driving on, I wave. I have no idea if it is my delivery man or not. It doesn’t make any difference. I’ve never met a grouchy UPS delivery person wearing the familiar brown uniform, yet they always cheerfully wave back! I wonder if they are hired for their smile instead of physical capability.”

Friendships in senior and assisted living communities affect everyone touched by friendship without even realizing how. When a food serving team member brings a tray to a resident’s room, carrying a smile, a happy comment like ‘Guess what good news I have for you today’ or a question like ‘Tell me how you are doing today’ the server is inviting the resident to respond with a pleasant comment. The room becomes light-hearted. Encouragement is introduced and no one even notices what is happening. The server is guiding the resident to enjoy the experience. This is a casual, but powerful, friendship at work.

This exchange of casual friendship can grow into much more. There can be trading of conversation that uncovers the background of one or the other learning about a culture unfamiliar to them. This opens the mind to a wider scope. It also builds trust between residents and staff members as it builds respect, one for the other. It works.

Friendships between coworkers are also a step in building a stronger foundation for the company. Friends help and support each other making their lives better. In Kind Dining® training sessions, follow-up practices and discussions of friendships will reinforce the training sessions. Friends enjoy each other’s company and sharing their experiences both on and off the job is part of that friendship.


Be ♥ Kind Tip: Friendships on the job can change the way you look at your work.