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)).
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.