I work with you, but do I have to be your friend?

August 16, 2009

People spend a lot of their time at work.  Too much maybe.  But do we have to like the people around us?  As we are hanging around our colleagues up to 50% of our day, casual conversation comes in.  Not necessarily being a bad thing, it can sometimes put people in awkward situations.

Now I’m not saying that making friends with people at work is bad.  Far from it.  Being more social with the people around you can definately be rewarding.  What I’ve found though is that I may not have anything in common with the people around me except we do similar work.  Moreover, they may do things that we don’t like.  And that can be trouble.efin742l

Different ages.  Different backgrounds.  Different interests.  Different.  And different around each other today creates, for me at least, well just awkward times.  Idle chit chat about the weekend.  The weather.  Now I know what you’re thinking, that diversity is great in the workplace.  It is…but for work purposes.  If you’re trying to have a social conversation though, there needs to be some type of common ground.

So I suppose my answer is that we can talk about our common ground, which is work.  It may not be exact things, but general terms about trends in the industry, movements around the floor or what’s interesting in their cubicle.  Or you may even look for things that you can get involved with together outside of work.  But I definately don’t stress anymore that I might not be getting along with the people around me beyond a professional level.


One Response to “I work with you, but do I have to be your friend?”

  1. Vincent Ng said

    I can relate to you about working diversity. I use to work in a hotel with over 500 people and many of them were of different ages and of different cultures. I think that as long as people know you’re putting in an effort to chat with them, then that makes a big difference. I’ve taught people how to exactly find what you have in common with people easily, and the reason I think it matters so much is because people actually view you as more competent at your job and people stop getting promoted at director and executive levels if they don’t have great soft skills that can adapt to a diverse culture.

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