Work Friends: It’s Complicated

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“Victoria Secret has these cute tank tops with the Brewers logo on them. It’s enough to make me a Brewers fan!”

I looked at the image on her phone and nodded. But something in the back of my mind was doubtful. I blurted out the moment I realized the source of my doubt, “Those exact style tank tops are at Fleet Farm about $10 bucks!” The look on her face was almost enough to make me fear my life. Why do I ever open my mouth? She responded with a tinge of attitude in her voice. “I just prefer Victoria Secret.” I nodded “Fair enough,” and let the rest of the girls around me banter as they usually do, with the full knowledge that they were talking over and around me, like I was that pillar in the middle of the room. I continued to roll my silverware and soak in what little intelligence the conversation had.

I had realized long ago I wasn’t going to make friends at work. I was too different. I never went out to drink and party. I don’t do drugs. I hardly smoked and if I did smoke it was from my wood pipe, which is much harder to let people bum a smoke off you. I didn’t enjoy shopping name brands, but the design experience I had, made me proficient on the trends of each company, so I could at the very least keep up with small pieces of conversation. Pinterest helped me survive too. But what it came down to, was either I wasn’t shallow enough, or they weren’t allowing themselves to show me their depth.

People are so guarded here.

I wasn’t sure it was even a good idea in the first place to try to make friends at work. I have people there I know I can talk to seriously. I know who I can have intelligent conversation, though usually brief with the fast pace of the work environment. I know who I can get and give hugs to if my day or their day isn’t going well. I know who to avoid too.

Work isn’t the place for friendship. As desperate as I feel to have people in my life in closer proximity, instead of hundreds of miles away, it isn’t worth becoming someone I am not. It isn’t worth altering my lifestyle to something more comfortable for them, nor is it worth becoming a destructive person. At the very least, friendship cannot happen in this environment. Restaurant work isn’t conducive for empathy, or even sympathy. Neither is commission retail. Not that I didn’t make friends in retail, but the environment is so stressful sometimes it’s hard to maintain those relationships.

I suppose I will just have to wait and see.

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