Newly switched into a rigorous electives program and my old hallway connections now severed I found myself amidst a new crew of soon to be cohorts. Being one guy in a group of six women was an interesting mix however to my surprise being Canadian, liking musicals and being willing to sit and listen softened my entry into the well established group dynamic. The 20 or so minutes the lunch crew shared each day was time too short in the moment to realize the breadth of impact the smattering of conversations had on viewpoints. Sometimes the conversation was quite focused as all waited patiently to share and balance out the content so to not fall victims of confirmation bias and group think, as other times lunch was a blurred crossfire of a multitude of topics some of which cannot be repeated in fear of HR and other times we solved the worlds problems.
The lunch crew congealed into a cohesive ingroup layered with inside jokes, group secrets, nicknames and shared understandings of varying contexts respected by all participants. At times more serious tones of support through life’s trials led our dialogue and no matter how varied the advice one would always feel listened to and accepted.
As a newly married man I paid special attention to the “husband talk” to see how wives viewed their significant others actions, sorry no secrets revealed here as this is not a gossip column, and how situations were worked out. I may not know or understand all the inner workings of the “wife perspective” nor should one man ever attempt this type of mental gymnastics but the lunch crew did provide new elements of perspective, appreciation and moments of reflection of my own input into my marriage. As an individual not directly involved in the situations discussed this enabled me to hear how situations emerged, were dealt with and the subsequent thoughts derived from the event impacted the relationship. It is this newly gained “wife perspective” more than anything I cherish from my time with the lunch crew.
As this year reaches its end the lunch crew is hit with a double whammy. One member is leaving the workplace for a better opportunity and the schedules of the remaining lunch crew no longer match. It is a solemn time for the crew but the time shared and gains in perspective will never be lost. A life lesson learned: be open as no matter what your thoughts or perspectives may be, listen, speak gently and accept those around you for who they are… a great lunch crew.