Relationships with coworkers are strange things. Every once in a while you hit a jackpot and you end up finding someone to chat with and go to lunch with. That could even turn into a true friendship, which has really only happened to me once in my life (although it may be too soon to say; I could have way more friends than I realize, or way less…). Most times, when I leave a job, all the friendships I’ve built at work sort of fall away after a time. What is it about our own lives that makes it difficult to keep in touch with people who seem so important at work?
I started writing this post thinking it was going to be funny, but it’s taking a different turn…
Anyway, the reason I started thinking about this was that I walked into work this morning and said hello to the only other person in the office at the time, and she didn’t say a word to me; didn’t turn around; didn’t even acknowledge my presence. Who does that? I realized a few minutes later that she had headphones in, but it’s not like I was invisible…
So, I started thinking all the insecure things people think when they are ignored for what they imagine is no particular reason at all.
What did I do?
Does she hate me?
Was it that thing I said that one time that maybe she took in a way that I so didn’t mean?
How can I make this better?
Do I even care?
The answer to the last one is, of course I care. The other question that arises though – is there anything I can do about it?
We spend so many hours at work, it’s difficult to spend time with people who so obviously dislike you. I’ve been in a situation where my coworkers were downright hostile to me and I had to take it up with my manager. It helped after a time, but if I’d had a choice, I would have left when it was happening because it made me feel awful.
I’ve also had coworkers who were so far in everyone’s business that everything became a slight… she’s not talking, what’s wrong with her? She didn’t ask us to lunch, is she mad at us? You know the whole, we’re all friends but we all actually aren’t? That was a pretty ridiculous situation. It honestly felt like I was in high school again.
I’ve also been in a situation where everyone was perfectly polite but no one really knew anything about anyone because we all just worked and stayed out of each other’s business. That was nice for a time, but I think we all need closer interactions with people. Maybe not everyone, but some (but not in a way that makes you seem like a stuck up bitch because you only talk to so-and-so…).
I’m not sure there’s a happy balance. It seems like a constant struggle. I suppose I can only hope for respectful relationships while at work. And when that coworker doesn’t want to talk to me for whatever reason, I’m just not going to take it personally until she tells me I need to. I don’t think I’m going to let it change how I am though. I’m still going to say hello when I walk into work in the mornings, whether I get a response or not.
How about you? Do you have odd work relationships?