I have no friends at work.

Lately I think I have the loneliest job in the entire store. Everyone else has at least one peer, whereas I am the only one in my job function. My title is “Administrative Colleague.” I used to be part of the “Administrative Support Team,” but the team dwindled down from five employees to one. No more team, just one little colleague. But exactly whose colleague am I?

With my unique job comes the unique position of having no friends. Not that I don’t have people I’ve worked with for years, with whom I talk and laugh. But it’s all pretty superficial. I don’t have friends, people I can sit down with and openly discuss whatever’s going on and how I’m feeling. Once in a while you’d like to go to lunch with someone. I don’t think in over nine years I’ve ever gone to lunch with anybody. There are also some cultural and educational differences which make it hard for me to relate to people and vice versa. But right now, what makes me lonely is my job.  

Because I’m privy to so much confidential information, I can’t really be close friends with sales or support associates. I can’t tell you how the new person makes more than you do after fifteen years, or that the person downstairs is about to lose their job. I can’t tell you when our boss is going off the rails or which manager came out of her office crying. I know how much you make, I know why you got written up, and I know management hates you because your grandma dies every weekend.  

But I can’t be friends with the managers either. They can’t commiserate with me when our boss screams at them because I’m “only an hourly associate.” They can’t be candid with me because of all the secrets they’re privy to. And I can’t be candid with them because they might tell my supervisor, let alone the store manager. And they treat me like a kid anyway. It’s like how you can’t tell mommy something because she’ll tell daddy. I’ve actually been in situations where I’ve confided non-work-related information to a manager and next thing you know, the store manager is asking me about it.  

One time, I told my supervisor that I just started a new epilepsy drug and I didn’t know how it was going to affect me, so to please be aware of it if I seemed weird. Next morning, our boss walks in and says, “So I hear you’re on a new medication.”

 TF?? 

What’s even more unfair is that I’m the only one in the store who not only answers to a supervisor but the store manager too. There are occasions when I’m reminded I’m an inferior, like when the store manager has my supervisor speak to me rather than tell me herself (like the time she told my supervisor to tell me that I need to communicate better. No irony there.). And then there are occasions when I’m given the same level of expectations as my supervisor. This often puts me in awkward situations. The worst is when our boss tells my supervisor to do something, which of course she doesn’t do, asks me why she didn’t do it, chastises her in front of me, and then has me do it. This is like when mommy and daddy divorce and pull you into it.  

On the other hand, sales associates try and butter me up to do stuff for them, and I’m like, you never had a word to say to me when I was a sales associate too. Just cut the crap, tell me what you need, and I’ll do it. Or they try and pump me for information, by casually tossing out suggestions to see if I agree or disagree or give something away. The funny thing is that when you’re honest, your instinct is to tell the truth. But this can land you in hot water if you say too much. You only need to learn this lesson once. And it compounds the resentment you feel at someone’s having used you to satisfy their need for gossip to spread.

So I dunno. Maybe it’s a good thing to be lonely because I’m way too emotionally invested in that place as it is. Maybe I don’t need to know everything or have everyone be my best friend. Thankfully I have people outside of work to listen to me talk ad nauseam about it. But still, it would be nice to be treated as a peer at least once in a while.

Do you have close friends at work, or is it all just business to you? Do you come to work intending to enter into a world of drama and play your part to the fullest, or do you go in, do your job, leave, and forget about it?

25 thoughts on “I have no friends at work.

  1. I’m retired, so, since I don’t work anymore, I don’t have any close friends at work. And for ten years before I retired, I worked remotely from home, so physically I wasn’t close to anyone. But there were people I communicated with daily on phone calls and/or web meetings, and I would say that I had close working relationships with a number of my co-workers. Still, I’m not sure I would have classified any of them as close friends.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Fandango. Maybe it depends on the line of work? In my line of work we’re all piled up on top of each other, day after day. I’m on the phone a lot but with random people who bother me. I know I certainly wouldn’t care too much if I worked remotely.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh so much complications at work. I have had jobs at work I have just worked and no friends, but got the work done and got on with colleagues. There was a place or two that where pure pure hell. People hates me before I even got in the door, and one time was when I started working. The other was years after working at a new company for me. I have made two good friends from work places but that is it. I think by default friends at work isn’t truly possible. It can be quite lonely. Important to have an outside of work life. Work is money and good experience?, a stepping stone for another role at another place or even the supervisor role at this place. Whatever your development area like communication work on them. You are bright you learn fast.

    It is nice to see you writing here.

    Don’t dwell on it. Just improve your soft and tangible skills. Excel at the job and raise your profile and use this as a stepping stone for better jobs. If you can get training to improve your HR qualification through work take the opportunity.

    Focus on growing, developing and excelling and create a path for another better role. Be civil with all and professional and warm.

    And having something outside of work to bring you happiness.

    It is a good skill to be able to work in such environments. It isn’t nice at the same time.

    All the best. Use it as a stepping stone

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey. I’m very lucky that there’s enough people that it doesn’t matter if they hate me. I think you’ve always got to have one or two enemies. I don’t take it too personally. What’s hard is that there is no real opportunity to develop skills or move up the ladder. I can do the best I can at my job, but there is nothing to be promoted to. And it sure doesn’t pay a lot of money. I think I have developed more skills at dealing with people, becoming more patient and resilient, more discreet, more responsible. But I just have to store them up for safekeeping in the hopes I get to use them somewhere better. I try to focus on what I can do for the person in front of me whether I like them or not. It’s very important to me to fight for the “underdogs,” the poor associates who get shit on left and right.

      100% on having something outside of work to look forward to. I have a fiance whom I spend all my time with, so that’s fulfilling. It’s just sad we spend more time with people at work than our own families in many cases.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Who needs friends at work, you have us. Your home team.

    I’m extremely introverted by nature so “friendship” is not an issue. Socialising with humans might make me panic. However, at work, I treat everyone the same.

    But as I’m an expatriate, when I whisper to someone in front of a third person, they will repeat it to everyone else behind my back. Usually, I’ll hear my news from a random shopper at the supermarket who doesn’t even live in my neighbourhood.

    Last week, a colleague of mine asked in a concerned tone of voice when was the last time I visited my home country. Not sure why this person would care or know about my travel schedule. ( I spent the entire 2019 living out of a suitcase but this person knows that I haven’t been in my home country.) I have literally never disclosed my travel schedule to a single soul at work ever. And no one outside of immigration officials have seen inside my passport. It means someone high up in management has been blabbing, as I would notify them if I ever leave the country.

    Please note that no one has been able to travel for an entire year, not even outside of the city, because there is a pandemic. However, people are suddenly asking me dumb questions about visiting home. Uhmm, WHY?

    Earlier the same morning, out of nowhere, I was forced to announce in front of a group of 30 people that my relatives were living in several countries across the globe. This was because someone put me on the spot and asked me to report on the pandemic in my country of birth. I receive updates from my embassy, but I pretended I had no idea.

    Instead, to make sure everyone would get bored, I gave a detailed breakdown of countries / cities / relatives / ages /occupations / residency status and explained what modern technology – ¡the internet! – I used to keep in touch with all of them. Schedules, dates of last contact, topics discussed and time zones.

    Why did I do this? My preferred technique for getting people to stop asking me personal questions is to give extremely detailed explanations. You’d be surprised how people try get away from you when they realise that the answer to the question that they so desperately needed is going to be eating into their precious time which they didn’t have to spare in the first place when they asked you the question.

    People should stop being nosy but when they won’t, I like to encourage them to do the right thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sabiscuit. I’m always glad to read your comments and have you on the team. Those stories are fucked up! What is wrong with those people? I just don’t get taking that sort of an evil interest in people. I’m used to people spreading rumors like that I’m pregnant because I rubbed my back or went to the bathroom a couple of times, not things like you’re describing that could even be detrimental to your safety, I would imagine. And then putting you on the spot. I think you have a good tactic to go into excessively minute details because it almost shows you don’t care all that much. I’m a believer in hiding things out in the open. It is funny, isn’t it, how people don’t actually want to hear what you have to say, they just want the juicy answer so they can go twist it around.

      I will say I’m a pretty introverted person myself, I have just enough energy to act friendly and smile at work, it doesn’t go deep at all. I’m not good at small talk. I’ll sit with you and talk about the meaning of life, but not what’s on tv. Or Netflix. I don’t even know what the hell they show on Netflix. I think it’s that sometimes I just want that one bitch buddy to exchange meaningful glances with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what you mean about meaningful glances exchanged. Sometimes, it’s all you need to make your day.

        Thanks for understanding my story. There are people who say, “If are you complaining – you should leave,” which is almost worse than the invasive behaviours. These same people are scared of travelling overseas without a group and a guide because they don’t want anyone treating them like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Rule – You have no friends at work. None. Zero. As stated you have colleagues. The commonality that has thrown you together is artificial. Whether you’re a grunt or a boss, workplaces are cesspools of political intrigue, microcosms of the political universe where information (gossip) is currency for advancement or maintaining one’s status quo. Show yourself to a fellow employee and you might as well put the proverbial target and kick me sign on your back. You don’t want friends at work, you want collegial partners in getting the work done. And that’s almost a pipe dream. Do your job, do it well and make rare true friends where you find them. It is said that we know members of our true family better in 20 seconds than blood relatives in a lifetime. When you meet those people, cherish them. All you should ever expect from work is taking what they’re giving ‘cause you’re working for a living. And maybe some feeling of accomplishment or satisfaction. Personally, I had great time doing my gig, but trusted the people I worked with as far as I could throw them. Work was the birthplace of small talk and superficial conversation. Or was that bars or barbershops? Or choir practice?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Phil. You give where I work way too much credit to suggest there’s any intrigue or a need for currency to advance. There is no advancement. There’s no accomplishment or satisfaction. Hell there’s no even getting work done. Except for me because I get my ass kicked all day long. Interpersonal relationships rule the day. Covid be damned, we’re on top of each other all day sharing TMI. There’s a few backstabbers but they’re usually only managers. They don’t backstab to advance themselves, they do it to put someone else in the crosshairs of our boss in order to delay the inevitable. I think maybe it’s just the twelve-year-old girl in me who feels left out. I guess I don’t actually want to go to lunch with people, I just want to be asked so I can say no. I don’t need a best friend or that rare true friend. I have a fiance who checks that box. Maybe it’s simply that I want to communicate with another person who gets it. It’s hard to find someone to look in the eye and know they get it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Next to impossible. But believe me, Betsy and Bobby and Wendy and Ken out on the floor are constantly maneuvering because it’s what they do. In one carnation I managed 17 (19?) music stores in Texas. Just like junior high school. More bad psychology masquerading as functional than you can imagine. Being participatory would only require input or initiation on your part. Ask a few fellow employees to the food court. Put on your invisible armor, smile, give compliments, listen. It’s a form of vocational theater that works for every loner dealing with every level from the lowliest dock people to rock stars. Trust me. As Hendrix said, “Are you….experienced? Well, I am.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Nah they know me too well for that stuff. You give this place way too much credit to think people are “maneuvering.” Maneuvering there means that when you have a long line of customers, have a manager send a dork to cover a quick bathroom break and then never go back there.

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    1. Hi, nice to see you. I wonder what it’s like for work to just be work. I get too emotionally involved and I don’t let it go when I get in the car. All people talk about is their personal lives and problems. It’s bad. It really is. I’m actually kind of embarrassed now that I think about it. Like, I know you’re going through perimenopause and you’ve had a hemorrhaging period for the last forty-five days. I’ve never worked anywhere else, I wonder how I’d even behave in a professional environment, I’d be like a kid raised by wolves who’s introduced into human society.

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  5. I’ve never really had a lot of ‘real friends’ as a result from work, but I’ve been blessed with mostly ‘friction-free’ relationships there. You really do have some intense stories from work, but I also think that the grapevine exists, no matter where you work, so yeah, expect nothing that comes out of your mouth to be private. Wishing you the best as always, Hetty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Stuart. Oh man I wish had intense stories. I’m not one of those people who have wild stories about crazy customers and egregious behaviors. Well, except for my boss’s anyway. Mine stories are just pretty lame. I think that “friction-free” is a very good thing. I don’t mind watching other people’s drama but I hate being involved in my own and then dreading to go to work. Thanks as usual for your good wishes!

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  6. I can definitely relate to this! Once I worked HR and was the manager for HR for a very large manufacturing plant. 400 employees and just colleagues, no lunch buddy ever. A secretary asked me out to hang with her friends at a bar in town after work. This happened only once and I should have wondered more carefully why but was just happy to not be lonely. I accepted. At the bar later, she “confessed” her manager was sexually harassing her and “wanted my advice.” Basically she’d set me up for a very awkward situation. In the weeks that followed I had to deal with her and with management suspicion that we were trying to collude together with ill intent towards the company which had never even entered my mind once. I had merely wanted maybe an hour of friendship after work and then to head home to my family. It was terrible. Long story short, don’t trust colleagues. You’re all competing for spots at the company. I just try to work and go home. I have found any time I get close to someone at work something bad usually happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi and thank you so much for commenting! Ugh! Nothing quite like that moment when you realize that the person being friendly actually doesn’t like you at all, just wants you to do something for them. It reminds me of when you’re in grade school. That was wrong of that woman to report something to you outside of work in a social setting. I hope you were able to show your innocence without too much trouble. It’s really sad that it gets to the point where you can’t get close to anybody. HR is a lonely job for sure for a decent human being. I’m very lucky that I’m not important enough to be involved in major issues, just stupid ones.

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  7. You realize that the corporation you work for doesn’t give a fuck about you, right? No corporation does. They can’t. They have one master and that is the bottom line. So, being “emotionally attached” might be to your ultimate disadvantage.

    You might be lonely because of the general lack of true intellectual peers. And if so then I’d say that things are as they should be. And if not, maybe you should bring a couple dozen doughnuts ever few weeks. The doughnut bringer always has friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course I know they don’t give a fuck about me. We all know it but we do it to ourselves anyway. It’s the company culture. It is pure masochism. And yes it is to my ultimate disadvantage–my bank account can confirm it. I know. It’s stupid. We all know it is. And I think you’re right about intellectual peers. While I’ve had enough cognitive decline over the last ten to have no right to throw stones at anyone else, I do have to sort of dumb certain things down for people a bit (imagine talking to my boss) and that makes me feel a certain separation from them, so that I can’t be myself. And they’d forget after five minutes if I brought them donuts.

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  8. I work alone, and due to the shit we’re in haven’t met up with colleagues for well over a year. I speak to a few on the phone , but enjoy this blog for its relative anonymity. I’ve taken the decision long ago to keep work separate from fun stuff, but I have a job I can do that with. Sometimes I think it would be fun to be in an office but most of the time I realise I’m lucky to be able to escape outside. Stay safe and fuck the rest of them

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