Mar 01

Have you ever made the mistake of assuming a co-worker or classmate is a friend when in actuality you were merely their “work-buddy”? It is a mistake that many people make, given the fact that the joking, stories exchanged and favors borrowed are very much like the interactions we have with our actual friends in life. While I have met a number of real friends through work and school, I always made sure to mentally separate them from the people I am cool with who aren’t truly my friends. Don’t get me wrong, while it sounds harsh on the surface, what it does is to remind me that certain expectations should not be placed on the work-buddy.

In our adult lives it can become very easy to have one’s job become one’s life. You start out ambitious, ready to impress but before you know it you’re riding out the clock, gossiping about other employees and getting upset when your misguided entitlement gets crushed. As you go through this cyclone of confusion, the same co-workers that you were aloof to will suddenly take the place of real friends within your life and the lines will start to blur a bit.

While friendship is a tad subjective with varying degrees based on who you talk to. I always say that a friend is an individual who has your best interests in mind. Yes even when they are talking badly about you it is out of wanting you to do better as opposed to malicious intent. Your brother from another mother, your ace, wingman for life, etc. etc. So how does a person who is “caught up” tell the difference between the two? Consider this list…

What Does Not Constitute A Friendship:

  • Going to Happy Hour.
  • Helping you move furniture.
  • Being lunch buddies.
  • Sharing gossip over the coffee maker.
  • Hitting on the same office admin.

What Does Constitute A Friendship:

  • Hanging out on off days
  • Talking on the phone outside of work.
  • Meeting and knowing each other’s family.
  • Keeping in contact after one of you is fired.
  • Helping each other in promotions and advancement within the company.

While my lists are pretty broad in definition, the main intent is to show that we need to go on a little bit more than similar likes to consider a co-worker a friend. This doesn’t mean that fooling yourself into believing that guy is your friend will always end up badly, but it will give you clarity when times are harsh and you truly need a friend. Many of my closest friends have started out as co-workers, but I can show as many knife wounds in my back from faux work buddies who looked out for number 1. Just don’t get it twisted when separating the 2 and you will find that things will make a lot more sense especially during lay-offs and promotions.

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