My Colleague, My Stunt Date

The March issue of GQ sports an excellent article entitled Do You Have an Office Wife?

She knows you better than anyone. She'll listen to your problems. Laugh knowingly at your jokes, and most important, mock coworkers with you. You couldn't survive without her. Just don't tell that to your real wife.

Gender specificity aside, I think this idea is fascinating. Do you have an office wife? Office husband? Are there office boyfriends and girlfriends, office friends — colleagues we need at work like we need our family and friends outside the office? I'm not talking about romantic overtures, or coworkers you may actually socialize with extra-curricularly, but comfortable relationships that parallel those in our non-work lives without crossing the home-work gap. Who do you eat lunch with all the time? Who are you especially pleased to see in meetings? Who do you make a beeline by every day, if not every other?

Of course, there are risks involved in such workplace connections. Think the 1957 film Desk Set — a great movie that touches on change programs, technological progress, mergers, and layoffs... as well as a character who treats his office wife like one for too long.

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  • Connie Kirkpatrick

    Good Day and may I say what a wonderful truth in your article. This was me for years at one office I worked at, the joke was I made a great office wife. So when it came time for me to finally make that giant leap to independence and develop my own business, I took the nickname with me. This is the name of my new business.

    I get the lears, strange comments, however I mostly get a terrific response, the "What a great name!"

    Thank you again for this article, for your insight and truth.


    Big mistake, most men and women go to work get along, not have an office wife, husband or girlfriend, treat your spouse better than these work people, when you go to work and be the hero you come home with nothing left for your spouse, it's just wrong, mabey I need a play- husband or friend, someone who will listen to me give me compliments, praise me joke be sweet, mabey i need what they are getrting and im not. I wonder how my husband would like that? he tells these women how special they are how much he admires them how much they have in common with each other, he tells me none of that..... he just wants his clean underwear and socks, sex and dinner and his spotless house, he goes to work and works hard, if he quit tomorrow he would be replaced, im the one here and i get zero....yeah i think i need a friend too mabey somone else can give me what he cant since he gives it all away at work, all his humor his smiles his jokes he comes home empty, And i like a puppy waits for something anything nice to be said to me but he cant. im not last on the list im not even on the list. thanks for listening

  • Ed Hidden

    I have a work wife. It was a co-worker who I get along with and harass like I do my wife. And she harasses me back. One day I replied, "You know, you're just like my wife, only at work." And it stuck.

    Over the years, my cubicle has been relocated to different cube-farms and we have "separated". We still take lunches together, occasionally.

    My wife knows about my "work wife" and even refers to her as such. In fact, she sent me this blog post while discussing with my work wife if we were going to take a walk and grab some lunch.

  • LP

    I'm lucky in that I do have good office friends. Didn't realise how much time I spent with one of them and how close we were until she took pregnancy leave, and one of my bosses asked how the baby was doing. Rumour control time...

  • RK

    I have three work wives, and my real wife is okay with that. What's better, is they all get along really great, and are lots of fun outside the office too. It makes the office more fun, and more enjoyable to come to everyday. Makes it not seem so much like work.

  • Janice

    I truly haven't worked with any high-level male executive with a secretary that doesn't have an "office wife," but it has more to do with dependency than respect. Let's face it, when it comes to nurturing relationships at work, it's usually a woman doing the nurturing.

  • Dan Smith

    comment above should read, "I know at every job I've had, the first time I mention the name of a female coworker more than once TO MY WIFE she accuses..."

  • anonymous

    I have a relationship with a male coworker and as it evolved, it was as though I found a long, lost relative. We had a tremendous amount in common. The best part is, as my "work husband" he and my real life boyfriend get along, as do I and his real life girlfriend. I know many people are apprehesive to start a relationship like this with their coworkers but to have a friend on your side, at your side, during the day when your real mate just can't be there, it's a real pleasure.

  • anonymous

    My real wife and I work in the same building (opposite sides/different departments), and she will typically join my work wife and me for lunch almost every day. I'm glad they get along. At one point they had a misunderstanding over a work related issue. I have never in my life worked as hard at remaining neutral as I did 24 hours a day for the week and half that the situation took to resolve itself.
    I'm just very careful that I never refer to my work wife as such.

  • Dan Smith

    Yeah really, who gets custody of the stapler?

    All kidding aside, I'm not too sure if this would be a good thing for guys...I know at every job I've had the first time I mention the name of a female coworker more than once she accuses me of having an affair with her if I call to say I'm working late...

  • Troy Worman

    This is an interesting concept. I am curious, what happens when you and your office partner split?

  • Ozzie Belcher

    Thanks for the laugh!

    "She knows you better than anyone. She'll listen to your problems. Laugh knowingly at your jokes, and most important, mock coworkers with you. You couldn't survive without her. Just don't tell that to your real wife."