Life is about choices. We all get to choose our passions, our form of education, our social circles, our sources of knowledge, our interests, our inspirations, our experiences, our career path, our journeys, our jobs…
However, the one thing you cannot choose is your parents. Oh, and one more.
Your work environment. Your workmates.
The truth is, you can choose your field of study, your carrier field, the social circles in which you are going to spend most of your time with, the company that you are going to work in, but ultimately, you cannot choose your colleagues.
What you can choose, though is your own way of dealing with them. Having said that, the first thing you need to do once you start a new job is to take some time to analyze the people working with you, and eventually realize who is your friend and who is your foe. That way you can set your boundaries and distance from the people you want to avoid socializing and develop a friendly relation with the ones that you enjoy being around.
What you choose to do next is up to you. You can try to make friends with every single one of them. You can decide to be silent, maintain your limits, focus on your work, get money, and live your life. Or, you can just try and make friends with the people you like and avoid those you dislike. Whatever makes you happy and comfortable is fine.
From my personal viewpoint, work friendships are both possible and impossible. You can absolutely become friends with a coworker and enjoy spending time with them outside of work. But then again, you can also make a mistake and end up either without a job or without a friend.
Your time spent out of work cannot affect your professional, work relationship with your colleague – friend only if the two of you know how to keep your friendship out of work and your work professional relationship out of your friendship.
It’s as simple as that.
So, it really depends on you and the people around you. At the end of the day, the best way to learn is through your own mistakes and your personal experiences. There is no better teacher than the consequences of your actions.
My personal experiences from working in a couple of companies have taught me that, YES, you cannot expect to be friends with all of your coworkers. But, then again… You shouldn’t be. It’s okay to not like some people and it is okay to not be liked by some people.
Some of them will see you as a competition. And therefore, they will hate your guts. Some will simply hate you for no reason. And some, well, some will do whatever it takes to bring you down and triumph over your tragedy. But there will always be people who see the real you and recognize your worth.
What I am trying to say is… Not every person at work will be your friend. But then, not all of them will be your enemies, either. There are good people out there. People who will cherish you, accept you and support you for who you are.
Becoming friends with a coworker is normal and it is a beautiful experience. If you are lucky enough to have that, be thankful. Because friendships like that are rare. And if you by any chance had been through the opposite experience, I am truly sorry for you. I honestly hope that one day, you too will get to experience what I am talking about.