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  • jane anderson

Own-Working (with Friends)

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

So how do you stay sane, day in, day out, working on your own? Or lockdowning on your own?

By actively friendivating, that's how. By forging new relationships with like-minded people and cherishing the established connections you already have. By being a good friend yourself to all your friends.

This could mean tending a friendship circle of three or thirty-three depending on your time, energy and popularity, or somewhere in between.

Because, like everything else in life, friendships need to be maintained if they are to function properly. So friendship isn't free. And if you think it is I challenge you to ask yourself how good a friend you are.

I'm not talking about money and presents here. This is about an investment more precious than that; your time and energy. Both finite, both irreplaceable.

The more friends you have, the more of your resources you need to devote to them. This is your choice, but note the word 'devote'. Because looking after a friendship is an act of devotion, and should be when you consider the really quite spiritual benefits that come with it. Commiseration, shared joy, practical support, a sense of belonging - where could you buy that in a single package? You couldn't.

Isolation is not for me. When I opted out of mainstream employment over ten years ago I was determined to factor-in weekly and monthly catch-ups with friends, old and new. I've never stopped. It's a wellbeing imperative for me.

These appointments shine like gemstones in what sometimes seems like a self-employment trench. The thought of a simple tea or coffee and unpressured chat in nice surroundings keeps me going through bleak times - and the good one's too. I like to share my better news when it happens, and hear about how other people are doing when things go right for them as well.

We're all in it together when we're SME's. It's a world anyone can join but not many people do. And no one really gets it until they've tried it. Most of my friends are now either self-employed themselves, or self-employed by proxy - their partner, parents, children etc are of this shadow world. They understand the demands, and the strange joys.

Here's to friendship anyway. I couldn't do without it. (Is there any funding for that?)

Jane Anderson PhD specialises in Sociospacial Reciprocity and Place Therapy. She's been working in wellbeing for nigh on 30 years and is especially interested in the people-place relationship and how it underpins all other aspects of staff engagement and wellbeing. Her Staff Wellbeing Framework Model is now charter-marked for quality assurance. / 07742942651

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