When I find out that someone has a difficult coworker or work environment, my advice to them is usually to go to work and just focus on your work rather than making friends. “You don’t go to work to make friends”, I’ll say. “Be polite, courteous and civil, but when it comes to thoughts of friendship and hanging out, think of the friends you have outside of work for that.” This is easier said than done, however, especially if you’re someone who likes being liked (as I have discovered I do), so I am so thankful that all through my working life, God has blessed me with coworkers that become real friends, either while we’re working together or after one of us moves on.
As I mentioned, at my full time job there are a few single women who have been hanging out as a group. We’ve only gone out two or three times so far, but the great thing is that friendships on a one on one basis have grown because of these few meetings. Now, when one of these coworkers walks by my office and says good morning, 15 minutes later we’ll still be conversing. This isn’t great for my productivity but I am really enjoying getting to know these women better. :)
One of my coworkers in particular deserves special mention. She is a true Pollyanna because she has really gotten the hang of focusing on the good in life, even when lemons are tossed at her (as they were at the beginning of the year). Despite her positivity, she’s got a lot of strength and is still able to be honest about the less than pleasant things she’s gone through, and these things together make her a pretty cool person. I admire the steps she’s taken to put her life together, and the tough decisions she’s had to make. I’m glad that lately she’s been sharing some rather fun things that have started happening in her life (of course we’re talking about a potential man here) with an excitement that one wouldn’t expect in someone her age, and it’s cute watching her go through these giddy moments, because one minute she’ll be lost in the clouds and the next she’s mentally slapping herself back to reality. Also, if I ever start exercising regularly and believing in my ability to get where I want to on the weight front, she will be one of the (many!) contributors to that new me. Her final attribute is that she has mastered the art of focusing on the good in people rather than stressing over the bad, so talking to her is very refreshing.
And this is just one of my coworkers! I could sing the praises of at least two others, and there is another coworker who loves me so much I really don’t deserve it. She’s always looking out for me and leaving little things for me on my desk. When I shared with her that I didn’t have any tools, I found a cute screwdriver set, tied with ribbon, waiting on my desk the next morning. She’s very sweet.
This evening, I’ll be meeting three young ladies I used to work with at a clothing store for dinner. We haven’t worked together for years, but we make it a point to hang out every few months and we have such a blast. It’s a great time to catch up on our lives and rehash those stories from the years we worked together that refuse to die and are the fodder for inside jokes, and see if anyone knows what happened various colleagues. And of course they always ask me if I still work at the store part time (they’ve moved on) and I always say yes. It’ll be 10 years this August; I really need to let this job go.
Anyway, I’ll make sure to have a yummy drink tonight and toast that unexpected locale for making new friends â€” the workplace.