Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Making friends at work is hard

I keep seeing memes and Buzzfeed articles about work BFFs and I admit I get a little envious.

My adulthood has involved a lot of job changes. And a variety of work settings. I've worked in newsrooms (three total), a university marketing department, a big financial corporation, a small third party administrator, and finally a somewhat big insurance and financial company. Sometimes I worked directly with three or four people. Sometimes there were more than 20 in my department.

Through all of this, only one thing has been a major struggle for me -- making work friends.

There have only been two settings where I truly felt like I had friends. In the newsrooms, we instantly kind of became like family. We had to. We dealt with a lot of crap and worked some crap hours. There was no bestie in any of those settings, but I had the occasional lunch or post-work drink buddy. In another job, I was a temp employee. But it's the only place, I legitimately had a work friend. I might even say I had two. We'd get lunch together, go on walks, and chat about our outside life. While I hated that job, I truly miss the friendships I made there.

In one of my later jobs, I was in an office on a floor all by myself. Well, I was alone most of the time. No one ventured upstairs to talk to me unless it was work-related. They hired someone for the other office on that floor, but a few months later, I was laid off. A few of the people in my department helped me move, but I don't know if I'd qualify them as quality friendships.

In my current job, I do not have anyone I'd call a friend. I talk to everyone and am friendly with everyone. But I've never been invited to join others for lunch or drinks after work. It makes me sad sometimes. OK, a lot of times. My job can be stressful and it'd be nice to be able to go for a walk with someone to vent it out. But I don't really feel like I have anyone for that role.

I'm trying to make peace with the idea that it's OK to just go to work, do my job, and leave without having any close friends to help pass the day. And sometimes, I am OK with that. But other times, I get a little envious of people who post about lunch dates or happy hours with co-workers. I wish I had that. But we don't always get what we want. I should really just be happy I have a job I enjoy that also pays my bills.

Work friends are overrated, right?


  1. In 4 schools, in 8 years, I've only made a few actual friends. Lots of acquaintances and FB friends, etc, but not the kind of friends you can call or hang out with until the last couple of years. However, I think it's fine to have a line drawn between work and socializing. Scott's job has always forced him to do both at the same time...going to "mandatory fun" army outings/dinners/drinks and it's incredibly stressful. I can see how you'd want to experience it, but you're right: It can be overrated. So that's okay!

  2. I felt like this at my last job. The office was super clicky and I always felt like I was left out, so one day, I overheard people talking about going out after work and asked if I could join them. They let me tag along but it wasn't fun and after that, I felt better about not really having a lot of office friends. That office was a mandatory 9-5 and you couldn't work from home no matter what. Now, I work from home 4 days/week and I'm way closer with my colleagues. Funny how that works, huh?


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