Friendship Is Still Witchcraft

My parents spent most of my second and third grade years of school in a lengthy custody battle over my brother and me. We switched schools three times in the span of three months at one point, five times in total((If you count homeschooling)) during that time frame. It wasn’t until the last six months of my parents’ divorce that we were able to get settled at a school and I could start making friends. It took two months for me to talk to anyone other than my teacher and the school counselor, and another two months before I could answer a question out loud in class((Thanks in large part to said counselor and a teacher’s aide helping me to create a salt flour map of the former Czechoslovakia to present to class. Why 9-year-old me was obsessed with Central European geography and history, I’m not quite sure on)).

It looked a lot like this, only of a central European nation, not Alabama. Image credit: jimmielanley.hubpages.com

As I’ve lamented before, it’s kind of hard to make friends in adulthood. It’s certainly not to say that we lack opportunities to do so. I’d make a fairly strong argument that I come into contact with just as many people on a daily basis now as I did when I was in college, if not potentially more. Working in a customer service setting within business can and will make that a reality. Those interactions though are strictly business in nearly all cases.

It’s definitely possible to make friends at your work place. That said, there’s a distinct difference between “work friends” and “friends from work”. In the case of “work friends”, they’re people you get along with and talk to while at work, maybe even going to lunch together here and there. You may exchange the occasional text message or email off hours bitching amount a common gripe or even giving them a heads up about road conditions. Overall though, your work friend is nothing more than a friend while you’re at work, and an acquaintance outside of that realm. A “friend from work”, on the other hand, is someone who you work with that you can also to consider to be your friend off of the clock. You may hang out on occasion, meet up for lunch on the weekends, play copious amounts of online gaming together…you know, the usual stuff friends do((Well, this is at least what I’d do…I’m not exciting)).

I’m really good at making work friends in most situations. I’ve become a more outgoing person as I’ve grown older, and my current position with my employer means that every new hire within my department interacts with me in some fashion (either in person or digitally) during their first few weeks with the company. Yet, if someone who falls into the category of work friends were to leave the company, I wouldn’t be terribly broken up about it. I certainly may be a bit sad that we lost someone’s skills or productivity, but at a personal level, I wouldn’t think much of it.

Losing someone who falls into that category of friend from work is exactly the same as losing a friend…because that’s what they are. Yes, that person may move on and work for a different company at some point, but that doesn’t kill your friendship. Losing friends is hard at any point in life, though I’d make the argument it’s particularly hard as a young adult. You’re at this awkwardly lonely((Relatively speaking)) stage where you haven’t started your own family yet to support you if someone leaves your life, yet you’re not surrounded by a friend making-friendly environment like what a university or high school could provide.

It’s a rather disheartening feeling to see a friend go away, regardless of how you met them. The problem only gets amplified when your environment is reminding you that it’s much harder to make new ones.

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11 thoughts on “Friendship Is Still Witchcraft

  1. It’s not easy for me to make friends as an adult, I’m always looking to fin dout how these things work because that’s just how my brain works. In the end, there is no formula though. It mostly just happens. At the moment I would consider some of my colleagues a hybrif between work friends and friends from work. I was really sad when one of them left in the beginning of the year because even though I only knew him for a couple of months, he was a great addition to the team and I was sure we would have bonded closer, had there been more time.

    Through this job, I meet and interact with a lot of people on a daily basis and that’s something I wasn’t sure I’d be comfortable with but like you said, those things change with age, or at least the did for you and me.

    (And then sometimes you meet someone while doing your work and wonder if she’s playing for your team but can’t ask for various reasons.)

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    1. Finding romantic interests at a job is a whole other can of worms that I have no desire to open for a myriad of reasons. That said, I’ve always been somewhat curious about how workplace romances work in not the US. When I was in the Philippines, people who were dating reported to one another, as did at least husband-wife pairing, whereas that would be a fireable offence/conflict of interest with many US-based companies. Is the US that much more strict than other countries?

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      1. Ha, I have no real idea how office romance works. I don’t think it’s a fireable offence here but it definitely is a messy thing. I’d say where I work, dating someone from the team wouldn’t be a problem, we hardly have a hierarchy to begin with.
        (In my case it was my governemnt pendent who I was very curious about after I met her for the first time, haha. That is a whole other can of worms though, and it would definitely be messy and problematic. And since she is probably straight, as everyone is, it’s just a hypothetical I liked to indulge myself in for a while.)

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        1. While I was in grad school I tried to date a coworker at the call center I worked for. We both held the same role, so it wasn’t a conflict of interest thing or anything along those lines. It didn’t work out for a few reasons, most notably that her son’s dad was still very much in the picture (their divorce had just been finalized a few months prior). Way too much drama, swore it off.

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  2. In response to your footnote–*I* count homeschooling, because otherwise the first 6 years of my education and then 2 in middle school would be nonexistent. And it’s just as shocking a transition as going between schools is.

    Also, you’re not unusual. This is a really common rut to get stuck in. It felt like pulling teeth even in super-relaxed, everyone’s-always-high Portland to get people to hang out and, y’know, actually FORM friendships, and after leaving? I’m lucky Tyler’s military or I’d never meet anyone new.

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    1. I count most homeschooling in most situations, however I recognize that there are people who don’t. That said, my homeschooling was an absolute joke, and may have actually hurt my educational development fairly significantly.

      I feel like I’d fit in a lot better on the West Coast, particularly in Portland or Seattle. I say this in spite of my general distaste for drugs (I’m not fond of people I know doing them, however I also know that it’s not my choice and that I can only control what I do with my body) and nature (because ew). There’s just something about a place where it’s always cloudy and raining that appeals to me.

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      1. Well, there’s also a comfortable helping of nerd culture in the Pacific NW, Mr. I-Wear-A-Captain-Hammer-Shirt-In-My-About-Photo.

        Not to mention intellectualism and, yes, an awful lot of people who see a dreary romance in it always raining.

        So you’d probably fit right in.

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