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just seem to keep falling out with people

(47 Posts)
twinkerbell Mon 03-Sep-12 10:26:29

probably in the wrong section but...I think I need some therapy or something sad I have a few lovely friends although spread around the uk but in work scenarios and (new) environments I really struggle to make friends and fit in. I need some advice on confidence, been told I try to be everybodys friend and espeically at work, thst not possible. Im dreading going in later today after a weekend off. I come accross as very confident alot of the time but inside I am an anxious wreck...any advice

twinkerbell Mon 03-Sep-12 10:32:38

oops lots of typo's but you get my meaning ... need some advice on how to be more ruthless and not care what people think...I think hmm

DisabilEightiesChick Mon 03-Sep-12 10:34:47

Can you tell us a bit more about what goes wrong? Your thread title talks about falling out with people, but in the post you say you think you 'try to be everybody's friend'. I would give different advice for these things. Do you get too clingy and annoy people? What happens?

MoaningMingeWhingesAgain Mon 03-Sep-12 10:39:14

All I can say is, that you don't need to be friends with everyone. You need to be polite and amicable, yes, but not friends as such.

It is normal to want everyone to like you of course, but even if you are the loveliest person in the world, you won't be everyone's cup of tea.

I have often thought, you know, I have friends, and colleagues, and acquantainces. And that's fine, I don't especially like everyone either.

Do you struggle with self-esteem and worry about not being good enough? People-pleaser? Or find it difficult to be assertive?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Sep-12 10:39:31

It's not possible to be "everybody's friend" and only the totally self-delusional would think everyone liked them. Work colleagues are just that. In a work environment it helps to be civil but assertive to get the job done and whether people end up liking you or not is rather up to them. When you walk in today be youself and, if they have a problem with something you've said or done, let them come to you rather than the other way around.

emsyj Mon 03-Sep-12 10:40:40

Your OP doesn't seem to match your title - your title refers to you having problems with not keeping friends and falling out with people, whereas your post seems to suggest that you struggle to make friends in the first place. Which is it? Or is it both? confused

I used to be very sensitive and fall out with people a lot. I think my expectations were way way way too high and I took things very personally. I made a conscious decision about 10 years ago to stop doing that and to cultivate more friendships so that I was less reliant on a small group and less sensitive when I was perhaps not invited to a particular event or whatever.

The first thing I actively and consciously decided to do was to stop saying negative things about others and to try to find positive things to say wherever possible. Moaning or complaining or bitching are all very wearing to listen to and don't cause people to warm to you. People like talking about themselves, so try asking about them or complimenting them if you like their hair/necklace/top etc. You don't have to be a bum-licker - don't pay an insincere compliment, but try and think of nice things to say, smile a lot, try not to give one word answers if someone talks to you. When someone approaches you (e.g. at work) try and smile and ask how they are etc - make the interaction a bit more social.

It's not realistic to think that you can be everybody's friend, but you can be popular and generally well-liked. That doesn't mean you'll have everyone's mobile number or go out drinking with every person every weekend - but it is possible to get along well enough with most people that you'd feel comfortable sitting next to them at the Christmas party and possibly there might be a couple of people that you would socialise with outside work. This depends of course on how big a place you work in - if it's just you and 2 other people and you are all very different, it might not be fertile ground for meeting close friends!

You should also remember that most people are more interested in themselves, their own lives and their own issues than making detailed judgments about you. I read (probably in a trashy magazine...!) once that self-consciousness is actually a form of arrogance, because you think others are far more interested in you than they really are. Try to focus more on finding out about people and deciding whether you like them and want to get to know them better. Try to see the best in people. Make the first move to suggest going for a drink after work or going for lunch (this is a good one with work colleagues - everyone has to eat lunch, after all).

It does get easier. The first year or two of my 'personality change' was hard, but now it all feels normal.

twinkerbell Mon 03-Sep-12 10:41:24

Okay, so I have joined a company where there are over 100 females and various cliques and many have worked there for years. I feel like a real outsider and as soon as i think I am making friends they turn out to be really false and I just feel a sucker! there are one or two who I get on well with but we hardly ever work together (shifts). I have been caught out twice at work in last couple of weeks by saying something which I thought was in confidence and then it became public knowledge and now I feel like I cant trust anyone....I have become brusque and paranoid and now Im being criticised because of that! can't win

emsyj Mon 03-Sep-12 10:45:37

OK, first mistake - you said something that you thought was in confidence - at a new workplace???? MADNESS!!!! I can tell you now that there are probably 3 people in the whole world that I would tell a secret to - and they are people I've known since I was a child.

Never say anything to a work colleague that you wouldn't wish to have emailed around the entire workplace and flagged specifically to your boss as a 'must read' message. That was very very foolish. You can trust close friends - most people are NOT your close friends.

twinkerbell Mon 03-Sep-12 10:49:54

sorry about confusing title..thankfully all you mumsnetters seem to know exactly what I was talking about anyway smile

its very hard because I am in a position with some authority in my new job and many of those under me seem to just not take me seriouslt atb all, then I get frustrated and I have said things to a couple of colleagues who i thought were becomming my 'friends' at work and they blatantly just went and told everyone and some have fallen out with me as a result. Its rubbish and any confidence I had when i started a few months ago is dwindlinng rapidly

twinkerbell Mon 03-Sep-12 10:51:10

its worse than being at school!

emsyj Mon 03-Sep-12 10:53:48

But to me, you are behaving as though you are at school, and thus creating your own experience in that respect. What is the 'confidence' that you told? If it was something that should not be repeated amongst colleagues (some of whom, you acknowledge, are cliquey and have known each other/worked together for a long time) then it should not have been spoken in the first place. It seems to me that you made a grave mistake saying what you did and you are now experiencing the consequences.

You can recover from this if you want to - but you must recognise that you were in the wrong to say things (sounds like possibly moaning complaints about some of your staff...? Is that right??) to colleagues and that you own this mistake, not them.

madonnawhore Mon 03-Sep-12 10:54:25

What sort of things did you say to your colleagues? Were you moaning about the people you're in charge of?

If you're in a position of authority then slagging off the people you're in charge of to other colleagues is very unprofessional.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Sep-12 10:57:05

If you're in a position of authority, responsible for assessments, discipline and so on, you can't be chums with the people under you. Basic rule of offices alongside 'don't tell anyone anything in confidence'. See David Brent in 'The Office' for what happens when bosses attempt to be matey.... cringe. Be polite, be assertive and look well outside the workplace for friends.

DisabilEightiesChick Mon 03-Sep-12 11:02:35

Don't talk about your work performance, or stuff that happens/goes wrong, to anyone else at work AT ALL. That stuff should be shared with friends/partners outside work.

I would just concentrate on behaving professionally at work. To put it bluntly, the people you work with don't have to like you. They just need to work with you so that you all get your jobs done. Don't try too hard to be liked.

Some books you might get something out of:

For toughening up and being professional:
Pat Heim - Hardbal for Women - about succeeding as a woman in business. This helps with avoiding the trap of being too fluffy and wanting everyone to like you. Also Lois Frankel - Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office.

General good aseertiveness advice - Anne Dickson - A Woman in Your Own Right: Assertiveness and You.

The flip side - if you do want people to warm up to yoU:
Dale Carnegie - How to Win Friends and Influence People. Old but classic.

Something Carnegie emphasises is that listening to others and making them feel heard is key here, not the impression you give of yourself, IYSWIM. Stop talking to / at your colleagues and listen to them. Ask them about themselves. That way you will get a feel for the culture and they will get a more positive impression of you, hopefully.

twinkerbell Mon 03-Sep-12 11:02:57

okay...I said that I felt unlistened to and although I was told to offer training to certain people who we kept recieving compaints about, I felt that they would either not attend or not listen. I put a list up for people to register for the training session and people started to fill it in and then it dissppeared and NOBODY knows what happened to it....
Also I had a moan about a member of staff who was off sick again, and had been off sick or doing half shifts for several weeks which meant that on more than three occasions (during school holidays) I had to work 12 hour shifts because there was nobody to take over from me when I was due to finish....
I think they are both valid reasons to complain and I needed some support not bitching behind my back

dreamingbohemian Mon 03-Sep-12 11:03:19

Oh gosh. If you are managing other people, then you need to approach work as work, not a place to make friends or be emotional about anything.

You should be civil to people you work with and if you happen to make friends that's a bonus, but you can't rely on work to fulfil your friendship and emotional needs.

You have learned your lesson -- don't expect people to keep secrets. Tbh it may take a long time to recover respect from people after whatever indiscretion you made (how bad was it?)

I think you need to reorient toward a more professional approach to work. Be civil and polite to everyone (even people who are distancing themselves from you), treat everyone equally, do your job properly and help others do their jobs. Don't be paranoid and brusque, what on earth? Just do your job and don't worry about other stuff.

In time you will regain respect and perhaps become closer to people. But you can't force it.

DisabilEightiesChick Mon 03-Sep-12 11:04:26

argh, 'Hardball ' and 'assertiveness' of course.

Cogito - X post. Exactly - don't look for friends at work. Separate the two.

LemarchandsBox Mon 03-Sep-12 11:06:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamingbohemian Mon 03-Sep-12 11:07:32


They may be reasons to complain but you should look for support outside of work, not from colleagues. Managers should never moan about the people they manage, it's very unprofessional and of course people will not keep it to themselves.

What kind of support and friendships do you have outside of work? Could you do more in that area so that it doesn't bother you so much, not having friends at work?

DisabilEightiesChick Mon 03-Sep-12 11:08:12

You need to address that stuff with the people concerned, though, not moan about it to other people. TBH that is not good form. Wasn't 'bitching behind their backs' exactly what you were doing, or am I misunderstanding this? Who were you complaining to about the person being off sick and the people who wouldn't sign up for training?

niceguy2 Mon 03-Sep-12 11:09:30


Are some of these people you are trying to make friends with subordinates? If so you should stop right now. You are there to be their boss, not their friend.

emsyj Mon 03-Sep-12 11:09:49

Um, sorry but it was YOU who was bitching! If you felt there were people who needed additional training and complaints had been made about them, you should have spoken to them individually and directly and emphasised the need for them to attend the training. Then if they fail to attend, it's a disciplinary matter.

To be honest, if you did something like that at some of the places I've worked, you would have been out the door. You don't seem to accept that you have done anything wrong, which will make it harder to fix the problem.

As for the person who was off sick, it's really not your place to comment on this unless you wish to make a complaint to your manager about having to fill in (because you e.g. are unable to do so, or need more notice or whatever) or to raise it as a disciplinary matter with HR if you are the relevant person's line manager and you feel their sickness isn't genuine.

This is basic stuff - are you sure you are ready for authority at work? It doesn't sound as though you have any appreciation of what is and is not acceptable in the workplace.

Portofino Mon 03-Sep-12 11:10:05

I would say - don't even try to make "friends" at work, especially if you work in a supervisory capacity. Go to work, be polite and civil, make idle chit chat, and get on with your job. Keep your personal life outside of work. Over time you will build a rapport with a few people. Rise above the cliques. Take a book or something for breaktimes.

twinkerbell Mon 03-Sep-12 11:10:16

dreamingbohemian sorry I was TOLD I had become brusque and paranoid I havent made consious decsion to be that lol....I am getting some good avice
incidently I do get on very well with both of the REAL managers lol and they said I just need to "grow some balls" hmm

emsyj Mon 03-Sep-12 11:13:30

Perhaps if you were more assertive in dealing directly with staff members that you have issues with, you wouldn't approach things by moaning to others (and perhaps hoping they pass the message on/exert pressure on the offending person to change their behaviour...?) So maybe you do need to work on assertiveness. But you also need to think very very carefully about work boundaries and what you say to whom.

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