04 Nov Adult Friendships
Adult friendships are odd.
Not all friendships from your schooling days survive adulthood. As we embark on different trajectories, our perception of ourselves and the world changes. Many at times we deviate in our expectations and outlook and look towards newer friendships to give us that “understanding” we require. And I’m not surprised to find myself befriending more people from my workplace, simply because we relate to each other more. Like having the same complaints about a certain client, or having the same frustrations from doing a repeated chore. Relatability in this day and age is paramount, given that we have little time (and ultimately patience) to go through our struggles with others. All we really want to hear is a genuine “yeah, I totally get it”. This totes helps with the predicament haha.
But are all adult friendships reliable?
I know for a fact that friendships in the workplace are more often than not, tenuous and embroiled in cycles of suspicion. This is in no thanks to the narratives that we’re used to hearing – of workplace politics and competition.
I’ve heard way too many stories about betrayals and backstabbing happening in the workplace. Of colleagues turning their backs when push comes to shove, of superiors stepping on their lowly workers to climb the ladder. Definitely not forgetting the classic “cliquey” behavior that inadvertently promotes groupthink and drives newcomers away. The possibilities are endless when we talk about relationships in the workplace. Which then really begs the question – are friendships in the workplace even possible?
For me, I’m still on the fence about this issue. A few weeks back, it was a resounding no, and I must say it was pretty unfounded of me to make such claims given that I was agitated about something at work. It was something really petty – something along the lines of “oh you tricked me into doing extra work I can’t believe I trusted you!”. I mean this could translate into doing additional (read: unnecessary) work, but it’s not something that can’t be fixed with simple communication. I feel.
I’ve had a couple of valuable moments with my colleagues which led me to believe that friendships in the workplace are indeed somewhat possible. We had deep conversations about life, our history and aspirations, our family and so forth. We talked about things we feel and hope, which is all very necessary in the wider scheme of things, since life does not stop at seeking livelihood. I believe that these conversations can only happen with the right people. Call me naive but placing all negative intentions aside, we are all normal people who wants to be understood. Maybe broaching such intimate topics are our only ways of coping with the fear of being misunderstood and misjudged. It opens up room for questioning, for comprehending, and most importantly, for finding common grounds. Hopefully then can we empathize better with one another.
Okay but I must admit that this sort of thinking is very “all in the air”. Many loopholes in my argument. If a professor was reading this he/she would be asking for further proof, i.e., citations pls! Haha. But look, this is my way of understanding friendships in the workplace, and it may or may not change in the coming months. I do believe there would come a day that an incident will come to disprove my entire notion but till then, I want to stay optimistic about my adult friendships in the workplace. I find it incredibly tiring to be constantly on my toes, doubting the people around me. I want to be natural, and in media terms, organic. Au naturale baby.
I guess I’m only afraid of rejection at this stage. What if people find me weird? Like Amos Yee weird? I don’t know how to cope with that lol. I trust that I’m not insane enough to drive people away… Maybe I just need to learn to deal with not having everybody like me. My manager once told me – a friend of everybody is nobody’s friend. Wow. Everybody including me please take note.
Aside from workplace relationships, I would like to add that the friendships from my schooling days have been surviving pretty well! I’m glad that I can still see eye to eye with my friends and have a good time with them. I’ve been busy catching up with my old friends in the past few weeks and I find that I’m always more recharged after our meetings. Having a handful of understanding friends is that one good thing that’s going really well in my life right now 🙂
And as always, I promise to blog more. I try.