The Good Fortune of Freudenfreude: Building Camaraderie Among Colleagues - Local Wisdom

The Good Fortune of Freudenfreude: Building Camaraderie Among Colleagues

Brielle Saracini

By Brielle Saracini
Marketing Manager & Strategist

The Good Fortune of Freudenfreude: Building Camaraderie Among Colleagues


Let me set the scene: a tear rolled down my cheek as I grabbed a tissue to dab my eyes – all while my husband tried to comfort me and my cat gave me a perplexed look from the corner of the room.

I’ll admit… I was being overly dramatic (as is my re-telling of this story), but I was overcome with emotion as I watched one particular scene from the hit show “The Queen’s Gambit.” It was during the height of the pandemic, and – no spoilers – there was an intense moment of somewhat unexpected support for the main character.

The scene took me by surprise and made me feel all the feels as I exclaimed to my husband“The camaraderie!” 


Have you ever been so happy for someone that it truly feels like their win is your win? Something that happens to another human that impacts your mood so much that you jump with joy or fist pump in the air. Perhaps your spouse achieved a life goal, your best friend got promoted, or your cousin announced they adopted a puppy.

Well, now there’s a term for that. Finding pleasure in another person’s good fortune is what has become known as “freudenfreude.” (Pronounced: “froy-din-froy-da”)

This term, coined by social scientists, describes the immense bliss we feel when someone else succeeds, even if it doesn’t directly involve us. I first read about it in a New York Times article and have been thinking about it ever since. Then I started to practice attaining it: first in my personal relationships, and since it’s been going so well, now in my professional relationships.

Even if freudenfreude doesn’t come naturally to you, taking a moment to learn (or unlearn) to celebrate other’s wins can be immensely beneficial. It can boost your mood, strengthen your relationships, and promote happiness to make the day-to-day a much more enjoyable environment. Friendships among colleagues improve job satisfaction, productivity, profitability, employee engagement, retention, and more. There is now research behind it (like this study by the International Social Survey Program or these findings by Gallup) as the topic of interpersonal work relationships (like “The Power of Work Friends” and “The Magic of Your First Work Friends”) has been garnering more attention over the years.

Below are a few tips on cultivating feelings of freudenfreude among colleagues. Warning: These may take a bit of practice – and that’s okay! Building a community and cementing camaraderie doesn’t happen overnight.

In-office Freudenfreude

  • Vocalize your gratitude or admiration: Go out of your way to give 1 or 2 compliments to a colleague every single workday. Don’t save these all for a monthly roundtable or just bottle it up for a special occasion. Spread the love on a consistent basis.
  • Focus on the positives of others’ lives: Start inquiring about your coworker’s interests and learn more about the things they love. If you genuinely aim to celebrate them and their interests, you’ll have a greater appreciation and curiosity if you have a base knowledge or experience.
  • Practice listening and empathy: When you see a coworker is stressed or upset about something, approach the situation with patience and compassion. Offer a “judgment-free” ear and do your best to listen with intent instead of planning your responses.
  • Pause for providing praise: When you see something that is celebration-worthy, stop for a moment and congratulate them. Take this moment to appreciate their accomplishments and linger on those good vibes!
  • Surround yourself with other freudenfreude-minded friends: Find coworkers willing to “do the work” to strive toward achieving this sense of freudenfreude. Certain people will bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself. You’ll find that positivity and negativity are contagious – so choose your inner circle wisely!
  • Actively search for daily “positives”: Train your brain to be more optimistic in general. List 3 positives at the end of each work shift. You’ll be surprised how your brain grows to identify these positive aspects much more quickly with time.
  • Check yourself: Stay in tune with your emotions for warning signs of jealousy. Also, try to identify what is selfless (freudenfreude) and what is self-serving. Remember that we’re working toward a place where we can be genuinely happy for someone else’s success, even when it doesn’t directly benefit us personally.
  • Avoid “forcing” it: A big part of this is that it has to be genuine. Don’t force it if it’s just not meant to be or if you’re not jiving with a colleague.

I hope these tips are helpful to start learning and unlearning to get to a point where you can experience freudenfreude to the fullest.

In the meantime, I suggest you watch “The Queen’s Gambit” the next time you need a new show recommendation (or a good cry, apparently). I hope you can fully lean into the feels and that you also say (muffled with tears or not)…

“…but the camaraderie!”

Disclaimer: As we conclude this post, I’d like to share a huge disclaimer on the above – we’re not supporting toxic positivity or suggesting to “change your mindset” about an objectively bad situation. However, if you experience a bit of a bad luck streak or if you endure something a bit more difficult, try to find a learning or two that you can hold in your mind as something you could grow from. Sometimes, we offer our friendly freudenfreude feelings to those who may not necessarily deserve it. And that’s OK, but you do have to do what you need to do to protect yourself.