It's OK If You Don't Have Any Friends At Work

2 months ago 3216
ExpressAfrica

It's OK If You Don't Have Any Friends At Work

Don't feel like a failure for not making friends at your job. You don't need BFFs to be good at it.

It's truly OK if you don't have friends at work. 

It's truly OK if you don't have friends at work.

Having a good friend at work you can confide in and commiserate with can be a blessing during these hard times. Research has found that it can even fuel greater job satisfaction: In a survey of more than 195,600 employees in the U.S., Gallup found that 20% of them said they had a best friend at work. This was also the group that reported being most engaged and committed to their jobs.

Does this mean you’re in trouble if you don’t have any friends at work? If you are feeling anxiety and shame over being professionally friendless, recognize that a lot of people feel the same way.

It’s hard, period, to make friends as an adult, let alone at your job. And just because you spend over 2,000 hours a year in close proximity with your co-workers doesn’t mean that you will automatically become friends with them.

“When you consider what small portion of the population is going to be in the office with you, the assumption you are going to like these people enough to be friends with them seems a lot to ask, actually,” said Tanisha Ranger, a Nevada-based clinical psychologist. “The pressure to create these deep, fulfilling, meaningful relationships all the time everywhere you go is way too much pressure to put on yourself.”

During a pandemic, people may feel this weight even more. Psychotherapist Shannon Garcia said that not having work friends is a common topic for her clients with social anxiety.

“Remote work and social distancing has made workplace interactions more difficult,” she said. “Without steady face time with our co-workers, we’re less likely to build close friendships. If you’re wanting to make work friends, it might take more effort on your part. If you’re not looking for work friendships, there’s nothing wrong with you.”

I’m an example of this. I’ve made close work friendships that outlasted the job, but I’ve also worked in an office where I had many acquaintances and no friends. Work friendships can help make long, sluggish days shorter, but I firmly believe that you don’t need to befriend your colleagues to be personally content and professionally successful. Here’s why:

Work friendships can be a boon, but they can also be a bust. What matters is treating everyone with friendliness and respect.

When you are socially anxious, it can seem like everyone is making lifelong, collegial friendships without you. Reality check: A lot of the time, those friendships end when the job does. As popular therapist and podcast host Esther Perel previously told HuffPost, these relationships are often conditional.

“What’s very interesting is how many people have friends at work and when they change the work, the friends don’t go with them,” Perel said. “It’s a really powerful thing to see how much of these relationships are actually circumstantial. One or two people may continue with you in life, and the others you probably will not see again.”

“Without steady face time with our co-workers, we’re less likely to build close friendships. If you’re wanting to make work friends, it might take more effort on your part. If you’re not looking for work friendships, there’s nothing wrong with you.”

- SHANNON GARCIA, PSYCHOTHERAPIST

When you are on the outside looking in at someone else’s work friendship, it can seem like something to covet. But it can also be messy and hard. One study of insurance company employees found that those with more work friends tended to receive higher ratings on performance reviews, but they were also the co-workers who reported being more emotionally exhausted from maintaining these bonds.

The lesson here: Don’t compare and despair over the work friendships others seem to enjoy — because you have no idea what they may be going through. It’s better to focus on your values. If you want work friends and don’t have them, it’s normal to feel lonely, but remember that friendships take time and effort to build.

“You may see two co-workers who have worked together for several years be best buddies, but you just started in the last six months. You aren’t at their level, and that’s OK. Friendships take time,” Garcia said.

And if you don’t want to make work friends, that’s OK, too. Garcia pointed to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s

Read Entire Article