Whether or not you get along with them, doesn’t matter, you see them everyday of the work week! Sometimes more that you see members of your own family. Some you want to make friends with some you don’t, but remember, they are most likely just temporary friends. Now, I am not saying that I have not made some great friends at work -genuine people who came there that way and remained so- some were never great and will never be. However, I am talking those who are not so great but think they are or worse pretend they are. It has always frustrated me that some persons you have to work with are so disingenuous, you see what they are doing but because they are being crafty about things, you cannot prove that they are faking their “kindness”. Those great advice and “gentle criticisms” are not always coming from a constructive place, a good place, a real place, a place of love and genuine concern. Just keep in mind that these persons will smile compliment and encourage you out of a position or even your good name -behind your back of course.
It is important that we realize that our disappointment with them is not their fault, but our fault. We forget that most persons are at work for a paycheck, to advance in their field, because they love their jobs or because of all three not, to make friends. Yes you can get closer to people by networking, but in the workplace the networking is to create contacts as a means of professional development, not so you can be that social butterfly. Sometimes we lose track of our purpose and get caught up in office gossip or become too focus on what everyone else is doing, or worse sharing personal information that can get spilled at the proverbial water cooler- now with corona is that even a thing? But we get the idea. The dynamics of the workplace has changed with this pandemic but the workplace culture is sometimes hard to shift, especially since those working from home are just experiencing a temporary state of being, eventually we will have to go back to being in the same space with the people we work with. I have come to appreciate more the importance of separating work from personal life and so realize many instances when I have acted in such a way that blurs the line between professionalism and unprofessionalism, in what a share and how I behave and think.
You will find nice people everywhere, you will also find not so nice people pretending to be nice everywhere. When it comes to those you work with you have to tread carefully. You may end up working with that person for a while and the type of relationship you have with them could affect whether or not you are comfortable there. We are not there to be most popular, to have a lot a friends or belong to the “elite” group, or, to construct an image built on lies to be accepted and fit the culture of that workplace. No, we are not working to do all of those nonessential things. What we are there is to make a mark, get what we came for, be ourselves, respect everyone based on where they are in their journey and not be pressed about things that have nothing to do with us, to be friendly, to share not overshare.
Life is too short to be spending time on things that do not matter based on the journey we are on. When you realize that you have been approaching your work relationships the wrong way, take a step back. Sometimes you may have to re-evaluate the work relationships you have to realize that what you have are not friends but acquaintances. Consider yourself blessed if you do have one or two persons who you have been able to form a life long friendship with at work but do not expect it. Know that most of those work friendships are more temporary than you would like to admit. I have come to realize this as the months have gone by. Some of those who were easy to access because they were in close proximity, are now difficult to connect with. You realize that the friendship was dependent on what you offered at a particular time and you were that colleague and not that friend. Do not confuse the need to collaborate with the need to be everyone’s best friend. Instead focus on your goals and work towards them and do not get sidetracked but remain, open (but do not make your life an open book), honest (about your work and not the details of your life), positive and constructive. Work hard for the money but do not lose yourself along the grapevine.