Coworkers – Is it possible to have friends at work?

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?


10 thoughts on “Coworkers – Is it possible to have friends at work?

  1. I have always tried to draw the line at work. There are a bunch of folks with whom I get along with fabulously well, but the moment I leave work – out of mind. We share, we laugh, we support. But we each have our lines. Some people do overstep boundaries which is fine as long as it doesn’t come on me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been with my current employer for 6 years and only in the last year or so would I say that I have friends at work, and not just co-workers. Even then it’s only two people out of a building of thousands.

    At my previous job I spent time with my co-workers outside of work all the time. I still do, in fact. I don’t know what it is that made friendships so easy there, but so difficult here.

    I do believe though that you don’t have to be friends with your colleagues, but you do need to be friendly and respectful, and genuinely so.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have been in work places where you have friends, but after work they go their separate ways. Here, we do a lot of things together but when we are by ourselves we really do not have any close friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘I don’t think I’m going to let it change how I am though.’ …. I really like this line! Exactly! There’s no need to change the good part of you…! And it’s so strange how in the workplace you have dozens of people around you, yet find maybe a person or two whom you would really like to hang out with after work…I mean, it’s all smiles at the workplace, but somehow you feel as if your viewpoints don’t connect on a larger scale….though your other colleagues easily make a bunch of friends and are constantly posting lunch pictures on Facebook! …. But why force yourself to hangout when your heart is not fully into it?…Gosh..a very apt post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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