by definition

During a meeting at work today I was told that a work relationship that I had considered more of a friendship was not. Flat out. We were not, nor had we been friends.

Since that meeting at 10 a.m., I have struggled to come to terms with that. Like most people, I work a 40 hour work week. My husband does too, but as he’s on a different shift, I feel like I see the people I work with more in a given week than I do my husband. The good thing, at least, is that I like most of the people I work with and would in fact consider them friends. We share lunch, we talk about our weekends, we recommend books and movies and TV shows to one another, we share what is going on in our home lives, we talk about our home improvement projects. Yes, there is always a risk of oversharing with coworkers, but at this point everyone I work with knows I’m quirky and they accept that. And some of my coworkers even delight in my quirkiness. And my supervisor puts up with a lot of my bitching and complaining and hasn’t once told me to shut up. She knows, as well as I do, that our job is stressful. And I’m lucky to have that. And I consider them friends.  But I guess not everyone views things the same way.

When I got home, I looked up the term friendship on the trusty internet, and the definitions certainly vary, but they all have a common thread of being a relationship that is more than just an acquaintance. Friendship includes trust, the ability to be honest without fear of reprimand or judgement,  mutual understanding… all the things that we value in working relationships. Add in having common interests and sharing details of your personal life, and you have what I would consider a friendship.

Being told you’re not friends with someone is hard to swallow, and I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. In the back of my mind, that comment will always be playing whenever the person asks me about my weekend or my cat or my house. In some ways, though, I wonder who got hurt more: me by being told that I was not considered a friend, or the other person who didn’t realize they had one all along, and they just threw it away.

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6 thoughts on “by definition

  1. Kat says:

    The way that I look at work is. I’m there for a pay check that is it. If I make a few friends along the way great. If not their loss

  2. Dear Catherine, I was briefly scanning FB and saw the 1st few words of your post and clicked through… Very few things make me cry (short of dislocating my knee) but this did. That someone would tell you something like that with such casual cruelty is beyond my comprehension. Based on that level of emotional sadism, best you know now how defective this person is. Can you give me their number, so that I can give them the mother of all psychological beat-downs.

    In all seriousness, it is this person’s loss and the verdict on their vitiated character. That you have so many wonderful friends is a reflection of what a wonderful friend you are. (This person is already dead inside, their body will catch up soon 🙂

    Much love,
    Joan

    • Dear Joan, I have three things to say.

      A. I love you.

      B. I wish you were around when I was little and I got bullied.

      C. I’m glad I was outside when I read this because I literally spit my coffee out on the sidewalk (another class act… Maybe this is why I don’t have “friends”?)

      Thank you for your words of encouragement. They mean so much!

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