At work, relationships with co-workers my age concern me the most.  It seems like I would have more difficulties with older co-workers, but in fact it has been the opposite for me.

 

Co-workers around my age tend to expect more from me in social terms.  There is the peer pressure of getting along with each other.  That itself could be undesirable sometimes.  Not to mention that conflicts such as jealousy and romance occur often as you become more socially involved with each other.  At the beginning, it seems exciting and wonderful getting to know many young people – you have similar backgrounds and interests.  Yet, if not carefully managed, it can get really ugly and difficult. 

 

Worst of all, they are not just friends, but also co-workers.  No matter what happens after work, you have to see each other or even work together the next day.  And if more than 2 co-workers are involved, rumours spread around fast and you’d be surprised how small the office becomes.

 

I have had co-workers with completely opposite view on this topic.  He believes that through working together, you will find some of your best friends.  I do not object this idea, but rather I feel that it is very risky trying to find your best friend at work.  A wonderful working relationship naturally leads to a great friendship, yes.  But as far as I observed, working in the same office is not a requirement to a great friendship. 

 

The same co-worker accused me of not putting in effort in developing friendships.  What I really don’t understand is why turning a fine working relationship into a friendship.  Seeing all the conflicts in the office, I really want to be careful in what I do at work.   I am sure I can find great friends in the office, but that would be because we have wonderful working relationship rather than trying to get to know each other.  After all, I’m not in the bar, am I?  I am hired to work and to feel good about seeing my projects done!

 

p.s. A few years have gone by now since I wrote the above paragraphs on 2005-08-19, but surpringly, I still have the same belief and very much well-liked at work :) 

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