Threat and Politics

(Note: I’ll have less references in German here now, since I’ve started a brand new blog completely in German – – to better think and write in German. Thanks for tolerating all the German titles so far!)


Where I work, I’ve noticed that people are suddenly insanely friendly and willing to share when one knows that the other is leaving. But why?

I started being in this team since November 2011, and part one of the big news is that I’ve applied for a year off work, which just recently got approved by the bosses. And then I got around to telling one colleague.

Before that happened, we were on work-only talking terms. I’m an open book so most people know about me, my relationship, my travels and stuff. But he was the opposite. He had nothing next to nothing to say about his personal life, which made me feel like perhaps we weren’t close enough for personal matters. Fair enough.

But the moment I told him, he positively changed. He probed more and then told me a lot about his personal life, to a point of mimicking what his girlfriend would say in her tone of voice. I was taken aback and had started to wonder why. We were exactly the same as before, just that I’ve just broken the news to him that I won’t be here for a while, and instantly he tells me things.

I’ve observed this quite a bit in my department actually, since I’ve witnessed three colleagues leave. I don’t understand this phenomenon. Are people threatened by their presence, and therefore are only willing to be friendlier when they know this threat will be removed?