Today I met in person a business associate I have been talking to on the phone for a few years. I will call her H. H and I have been "phone friends" for some time. She is associated with one of my clients so I talk to her quite often. We have talked many times about getting together but this and that has always gotten in the way. But today was the day!
We met at a mutually located restaurant. She lives about 2 hours away so we found a favorite restaurant at a mid-point. I sent her a photo ahead of time so at least one of us would know what the other looked like. As soon as I heard her talk I knew it was her. She has a very distinct accent.
We had the best time! We talked about work, family, the holidays. I brought some photos to show her. We had great food; which always makes it a good time! Then 2.5 - 3 hours later we said good-bye with a promise to meet up again soon.
Isn't it interesting how some work associates make the jump to friends and others don't? I work in a sensitive area in my work so I am not always afforded the luxury of having work associates become friends. I have to be very careful who I associate with outside work hours. H is removed enough from my clients that there is no conflict in my friendship.
But back to my question, who makes the leap from work associate to friend? Some work friends are friends as long as you work at that location but as soon as you leave, the friendship doesn't survive. I have two friendships that survived my last job and no friendships that survived the previous job. The two friendships have survived for many years and both people left the job prior to me leaving. At first we would talk about what was going on at the company since they left but once I left we had to find other topics to talk about. Those two relationships survived the transformation.
I hope this friendship continues. H was very nice and quite fun. We had a lot in common.