Tag Archives: social

making work friends

This morning, I was skimming Facebook and saw that a group of women from my office had gone out for drinks last night to celebrate a former colleague’s.  My absence from this group is not particularly telling or indicative of anything to do with me or my value as a person, colleague or friend.  It is just a group of current co-workers who have been going out as a group for years, while I sit anti-socially at my desk.

In fact, my anti-social status at the office is so extreme that I am missing the company picnic today because I didn’t cross-reference my work and personal calendars before making plans for the school closure dates.  Therefore, I am hosting Ben’s friends for a day of “please entertain each other” activities instead of re-bonding with my own co-workers.   Part of this is because I’ve been offsite for the past year, and upon returning, instead of attempting to re-bond with colleagues, I decided to hide at my desk and pretend I don’t know anyone anymore.

My failure to prioritize this kind of in-office socializing is probably why I am rarely invited to events outside the office.  On a daily basis,  I make the choice not to get up from my desk and talk to people, which results in not being invited to events outside of the workday.  And for the past few years, I have prioritized my son’s birthday over the company picnic – and then this year, the one year I could have gone, I invited three of his buddies over to hang out instead of sending Ben to chess camp for the day, so I am now committed to staying home with a houseful of ten year olds.

It therefore should not be a surprise that I’m  not invited to office social gatherings, and yet, I’m still sad and disappointed when it happens and I see it posted about retroactively.  It’s just so hard to get over my fear of socializing at the office.  I worried for years that people didn’t like me, and only put up with me because they were obligated to engage with me, a fear everyone has but that I actually had reinforced in me twenty years ago by a co-worker who told me that was how she felt.  Now I not only worry people don’t like me, but also worry that the obligation to engage positively with me is higher since I am management and sometimes, I am someone’s direct or indirect boss.

This is not a surprising phenomenon to many people, I’m sure.  There’s mixed feelings on work friendships.  TV teaches us that it’s the norm to have a workplace social circle, but I  have never had that kind of extended work/social life.  I am friendly with co-workers, and often remain good friends with people after leaving a job, but it isn’t a regular occurrence to have that kind of interaction.  I do not believe this is abnormal, especially for people with children and/or other priorities outside the office, and the New York Times seems to emphasize that work friendships can be weird and inconsistent by running articles on a regular basis talking about issues that crops up in these strange hybrid relationships.

Is there a not-awkward, non-creepy way to make friends as a grown-up?

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It would be easy to be safe and just cocoon further into my loner, anti-social status, but that isn't what I want.  I know that my co-workers are people I would like spending time with if I wasn’t so anxious about it.  The problem is that added stress of thinking, “does this person like me or are they just putting up with me” kills most of the joy I would get from the encounter, and makes it difficult for me to reflect positively on the fact that this is a cool, smart, interesting person with their own perspective on the workplace we share and have in common.  It’s difficult to engage in a positive, meaningful conversation during a workday as it is – I’m always worried I’m  keeping someone from something more important – and then my fear of whether or not my presence is received the same way makes it even more difficult for me to engage in a verbal exchange that would add collateral to the friendship.

Therefore, I’ve  been hiding at my desk, nodding at people when I see them, smiling and saying hello, and praying I don’t have to actually engage because THAT IS HARD AND CAUSES FEAR.

Image result for making friends grown up funny

I empathize with this SO HARD.  It’s how I know Daria is really covering for insecurity!

I’m asking myself now, what can I actually do about this?  Do I have to come out and talk to people and put myself out there despite a crippling fear of rejection?  Do I have to make going to company events and happy hours more of a priority?  We’re moving to a new office soon, after all – can I make it a priority to talk to people there?  Can I engage more through the “Women in Leadership” initiative, making sure I show up for those events?  Would it help if i went into the office more days instead of working from home all the time?  What if I reached out more to co-workers, current and former, attempting to get to know them on a 1:1 basis and setting aside time to do so?

The answer to all of these things is yes, and the answer to everything is that I have to just work a little harder at engaging in meaningful social interactions, both in creating the opportunity to do so and in finding conversation to make that isn’t awkward when those opportunities come up.  That isn’t easy for me – I sometimes feel like I’m missing a critical part of the human personality, the part that puts people at ease and makes people feel comfortable with me, the part that makes me likeable.  That, however, is an insecurity for an entire other day.  For today, I need to go problem solve a way to get to that company picnic!

it’s better than being down the coal mines

I’m working today on an analysis of competitor sites for a client pitch Tuesday. I’m rapidly re-learning what a terrible idea is to spend all day Saturday drinking when you have to use your brain the next day. Because yesterday, it was a day of back to back parties, and I started drinking at 3pm – and ended around 1am. And it’s been years since I did a ten hour boozeup like that, by which I mean, since I was in my last year at UBC.

So right now, I’ve just slammed a diet Red Bull into my system, and I’m eating organic chocolate and listening to a mix CD the boyfriend made me, seventeen tracks of Chameleons UK (including the song that was on when he asked me to dance at Bar Sinister) and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and hoping that I can trance into work enough to get analysis of ten sites done in two hours.

Which is what I’m going to do right now instead of writing blog entries. But there’s going to be some stuff coming on blogging.la soon – photos from the Gold Line train ride on Friday, and a tale of Dragon Boat practice. And I should have new stuff up on Flickr tonight. Links to both sites are to the right. Remind me to post all that stuff if I don’t get it all live tonight and tomorrow.

So much for just taking a Sunday to be hung over.

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Protected: all my ex’s live in texas, texas is the place i’d really like to be…

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i really, really live here

Last night, the guy roomate and I went up to the Sunset Strip to see the Birthday Massacre at the Roxy. They are my favorite new acquisition goth band, probably because they have this really 90s feel to them. Violet makes me think of being eighteen and reading a borrowed copy of the Sandman for, like, the fifth time, while waiting for a friend to show up with a video of The Crow. The songs have minor key harmonies, sticky beats, two guitarists, 90s sounding synths, and a girl lead singer.

We found out that the band didn’t go on until 10:45, and we had no interest in the opening act, so we went next door to the Rainbow Room. This is the old-school death-metal hangout bar. It’s actually a restaurant AND bar AND upstairs private room, but is associated with 80s metal bands. Guy Roomate, being ex-metalhead in the same way I am an ex-grungebunny, enjoys hanging out there. And, despite it being recommended in Alternative Los Angeles (the guidebook that got me here to start with), I hadn’t been there yet. So I suggested that we go there for a drink while killing time.

We pay cover, get our drink vouchers – and I recognize the doorman. “The Man of a Thousand Voices!” I exclaim. It was a talented voice actor I’d chatted with, for ten minutes, while waiting outside Gotham Hall in Santa Monica for friends. He’d been working the door there, and paid me the best compliment I’d had all week: “Girls who buy jeans want their ass to look as good as yours does in those.” I said my hellos, and then proceeded into the bar.

We were twenty minutes into the wait when a familiar looking guy in eyeliner sat down next to us. It was Paul Van, lead singer from local dark rock band Solarcade, who I refer to as “The Depeche Mode Guy.” He knows the band, from having opened for them in his native South Africa and in Europe on the Devotional tour. I met him at Miss Kitty’s a year ago, and occasionally hear from him on MySpace when there’s a Solarcade show. We discussed Martin Gore’s musical genius for a few minutes, and then it was time to go next door to the show.

I think what surprised me is that I ran into two different people I had met randomly at previous times, in places nowhere near the Rainbow Room. This happens to me now. I run into people I know. It isn’t a big deal, really – or it wouldn’t have been, in Vancouver. In Vancouver, I can’t get onto a bus without running into someone I went to UBC with. But this is L.A. It’s bigger, and I didn’t start out here as part of a pre-built university community. Seeing people I know – like running into a girl from Critical Mass at Bar Sinister, or finding an acquaintance invited to the same party I am – makes me feel like I really live here. Like I’m not so much a ghost drifting through city after city, but that I live in Los Angeles, and will continue to see people I know as I move in my paths around the city.

And yes, it certainly improves my evening slightly to run into two separate guys who have flirted with me at two separate times. Nothing like a quick ego reminder to make me smile.


I have been out drinking FAR too much for a school night, and far too late at that.

Guy roomate and I were up watching Simpsons S4 (the monorail episode) and eating Del Taco just now to sober up.

This is NOT how responsibility happens. Especially since I’ve probably slept about twelve hours since leaving the Island on Sunday. Yesterday, we were up late cleaning house, and today I’m out drinking, and…

Time to drink water and crash and regret those kamikaze shots when I have to get up in four hours.