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To find the phrase work friends are just work friends depressing

(38 Posts)
Witchofzog Sat 02-Mar-19 11:38:31

I have just seen this repeatedly on another thread today but also on lots of other threads in the past. I have moved around a lot so aside from 1 old school friend and an ex partner who I am still close to, my best friends are 2 women I have worked with for the past 5 years. We have helped each other out in practical and emotional ways, have stayed over at each other's houses (I live a distance from them)

For me, the main way I have to make friends is at work but the common theme seems to be that work friends are not real friends. Do most people feel like this too?

clairemcnam Sat 02-Mar-19 11:43:10

The friends you describe sound like real friends. Work friends to me mean people you get on well with at work and maybe sometimes go out for a drink after work, or go out to lunch with them. These kind of friendships can be important, but they rarely last after you move job.

isseywithcats Sat 02-Mar-19 11:43:20

For most people their work friends are just that friends when at work , i get on very well with my friends when we are in work but dont socialise with them outside of work i have different sets of friends

Fluffyears Sat 02-Mar-19 11:43:45

Sometimes you will make a ‘real’ friend but I have been stabbed in tha back so many times I keep mostnof them at arms length. I feel that I am actually paid to spend time with them and wouldn’t usually choose to be around donenof them otherwise. In Germany I have heard that they have ‘colleagues’ and ‘friends’ and these are separate, I don’t know if that’s true.

Whatififall Sat 02-Mar-19 11:45:03

I’ll be one of the posters who said that. I do think work friends are just colleagues you get on with. I’ve worked places where I’ve really got along with people but they move on, you meet up and you realise that actually all you had in common was that you spent time in the same place.

I do see 1 ex-colleague regularly so I guess she’s made the move to actual friend.

perci08 Sat 02-Mar-19 11:45:55

It depends. I prefer to keep my work and private life separate. Whereas I know work colleagues who prefer to hang out together after work.
Is fair to say 'bad experiences' leave a scar. So I found out to my cost. But soon put that right! Is entirely your choice.

bridgetreilly Sat 02-Mar-19 11:46:34

Work friends can certainly become real friends, but often they will just stay people you are friendly with at work. That's okay.

Thingsdogetbetter Sat 02-Mar-19 11:46:38

There are work friends, who you are friendly with at work and go for work drinks with, and there are friends you meet at work, who you see outside work like any other friends. Yours seem like the latter.

I have both, I know the former relationships will melt away if I leave that job. The latter will continue.

clairemcnam Sat 02-Mar-19 11:46:39

So I am very friendly with a woman at work. We get on well, have been out to lunch together during a work day and for a quick drink straight after work. But we have never met at the weekend, never been to each others houses, or met each others family or friends. This is what I would see as a work friend.

Teateaandmoretea Sat 02-Mar-19 11:47:34

I think it's nonsense OP. The reality is that most friends we have are transient so you leave the context and leave them behind. It's as possible to make real friends through work as anywhere else. That's my experience anyway. In other words they are talking bollocks and there is no need to be depressed about it smile

HardofCleaning Sat 02-Mar-19 11:47:54

I think it's just one of those stupid things people say because it applies to them and they assume their experience is universal. Of course there are people who you might be friendly with at work and it doesn't always translate into a genuine friendship but of course you can also meet genuine friends at work too.

MRex Sat 02-Mar-19 11:48:57

Most of my good friends were once colleagues @Witchofzog. Past the 10 / 15 / 20 year marks in several cases. People have different lives, your friends sound nice and certainly not just work colleagues.

HardofCleaning Sat 02-Mar-19 11:50:39

I have friends from previous work places I still see 10 years later, I have other people I got along with and we would keep each company company at work events but didn't ever make a lasting bond with. It's the same as anything else - baby groups, hobbies, school gates, uni friends. Sometimes you just rub along because you happen to be thrown together sometimes you forge a friendship that exists outside the context you happened meet in.

notacooldad Sat 02-Mar-19 11:51:53

For me, the main way I have to make friends is at work but the common theme seems to be that work friends are not real friends. Do most people feel like this too?
I certainly don't feel like this!
My closest friend of 35 years was a work friend.we have long not worked together and our lives have gone in massively different directions but we meet up once a fortnight for a long breakfast ( that often turns into lunch and occasionally afternoon drinks)

in the last 4 weeks I have been out for lunch and bought a birthday present for a bloke I used to line mange when he was 19. He's 35 next week! I went out for coffee with my old line manger ( she lives in the house literally across the road from my work so usaully wave to her and her husband when I'm going to my car.
I mountain bike with with 3 colleagues and one from a similar team.
I would class our manager as a friend. We socialite, I dog sit for her, we go to the pub together days out in Manchester etc.

Our team is roughly an equal mix of males and females. Everyone talks openly about everything from period pains, to depression to, well everything. To be fair the team is relatively small, emotionally demanding at times and it's not a very transient team. Most of the. Team are the original members from when it set up in 2009 but had also worked together long before that, going back to the early 90's.

I do realise this is not a typical workplace though.
I love it but know it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

ScreamingValenta Sat 02-Mar-19 12:01:25

Of course it's possible to make lasting friendships that go beyond the workplace.

However, many workplace friendships will be just that - you are friendly in the office and possibly even socialise a little, but the primary thing you have in common is your job - so if that changes, the friendship is likely to tail off because there aren't enough non-work-related connections between you to sustain it. There's nothing wrong with that - having work friends makes life at work pleasanter.

Witchofzog Sat 02-Mar-19 12:03:15

Perhaps the previous threads attract people who don't want to make friends at work.

I work in one of the caring professions and my work place is full of people with similar outlooks and perspectives on things. If it was a dating site then we would all be perfect matches smile I have always thought if you work somewhere like I do, you already have the foundations for a good friendship.

Out of the 2 friends at work I mentioned I have met one's mum and dad when she invited me to her birthday lunch at her house (It was literally just me and them and they were lovely smile) and we have always been there for each other.

I guess this struck a chord for me as these friends are both mid thirties and want children whereas I am 40 and have done with babies. I probably feel that once they have children we will not be at the same life stage and may then lose touch

Teateaandmoretea Sat 02-Mar-19 12:05:59

Perhaps the previous threads attract people who don't want to make friends at work.

Or people who just like to put others down....

Mummadeeze Sat 02-Mar-19 12:08:34

Most of my friends have been made through work. I moved around a lot as a child and grew out of most uni friends. I was always a working Mum so didn’t really make friends through school. My work friends are the people I have had most in common with to be honest.

Tennesseewhiskey Sat 02-Mar-19 12:11:38

I met my best friend at work.

However, the majority of people I have met at work, I am no longer in contact with now I dont work with them.

For the majority of people, their work friends, even if they see them outside work are no friends when they dont work together.

I also think not expecting to make true friends at work is also sensible. Me and my best friend, became friends slowly, over a few years. I have seen so many, start working at places. Get on with someone, they become best friends quickly because of circumstances rather than personalities and then it ends up going tits up.

RoboticSealpup Sat 02-Mar-19 12:13:55

DH's best friends are people he works with. I like my colleagues a lot, but I have never seen them outside of work. I think both scenarios are normal.

cucumbergin Sat 02-Mar-19 12:16:30

I'm a bit rubbish at keeping in touch with people. So my level of contact with people does drop off if I move away, switch jobs etc. But I still like them and if it's possible to meet up, then it's nice to catch up.

I think you can have friendships on a level where you catch up when you run into each other and you're still friends.

FancyPantsMcGhee Sat 02-Mar-19 12:25:03

I've come across this too and also found it a bit depressing. I don't really have many friends from school or university due to a variety of circumstances so most of my socialising is with friends I've made through work. There can be a real sniffy-ness from some people on MN about the status of these friends, as though only people you went to school 25 years ago could possibly count hmm I've seen posters say things like 'I have quite enough friends thank you, I don't need to make any at work' as though there is a quota!

I do also know a few people at work who are horrified by the idea of socialising outside work or exchanging numbers or being friends on Facebook. They will only communicate with work colleagues at work, during work hours, and they are quite strict about that. Fair enough, but I'm quite happy to form close connections with people that transcend the workplace!

cucumbergin Sat 02-Mar-19 12:34:52

I wonder if it depends on whether your work is something that genuinely interests you or if it's just a job? If you already have a mutual interest then spending a lot of time on it together can make a solid basis for fruendship.

gamerwidow Sat 02-Mar-19 12:38:47

work friends are just work friends doesn’t mean work friends can never become close friends it just means that just because you are friendly with someone at work it doesn’t mean they want to develop a deeper friendship with you. They might well end up being proper friends but you shouldn’t be offended if that isnt what they want.

Witchofzog Sat 02-Mar-19 12:44:58

I think it definitely can depend on whether your job is a chosen job or one you have fallen into. If most of your colleagues have chosen the same career then you probably have things in common to begin with.

I have never gone into a job expecting to make friends but I like it when I do and it makes it a lot nicer if you and your colleagues get on well

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