Confusing Interactions?

Should colleagues automatically be considered friends? What about long time colleagues? Am sure over the years you have shared a lot, and even got to hang out at some point. It could have been a forced work gathering, or a birthday celebration of a colleague. Or you are one of a kind who insists on keeping closed off, till a thorough check on a someone is done, for you to consider them as a friend?

Anyway, there is always that one colleague who is always there for you. This was the case since the first day you got the opportunity to join the team. They continue to treat you as a dear one, even when conditions of working or studying, gradually spiral out of control. However, you have never hanged out with that colleague, except at an official gathering. Of course, I am excluding work or school group hangouts, since many colleagues are forced to join. They do not want to be considered as “that person who never does anything”, besides work or school. However, I wonder how long it should take, for one to automatically start considering a colleague, as a friend. It gets a bit tricky sometimes, when a colleague offers full help when needed, and yet, you thought you could do it all, on your own.

Asking a colleague for their contact number, is all good, and all fine, with no suspicion raised. Their number could be helpful, in case of an emergency, and one can’t get hold of immediate supervisor. Usually, asking for someone’s number signals an interest in them, which couldn’t be the case with a colleague. However, since humans are strange creatures, I may request for a colleague’s number, with an aim of wanting to know them better: it could be physical, emotional, intimate, innocent, or a combination.

It is common practice that when initiating a chat with a colleague, work related issues are often spoken of. For I, I prefer taking an altered route, in which I start off with something social and casual, creating an environment of free interaction. At times, a genuine joke is included, or used to initiate the chat. This is considered strange and weird by many, and at times, sent messages are never replied. Tension may rise on the next work day, but colleagues later find out, I was simply trying to be nice.

Some individuals draw a clear-cut line between plain colleagues, and colleagues who are friends. This is detrimental, and may affect results of work, or project worked on. I was once a victim of a project worked on by plain colleagues: none of us knew anything much about the other. Trouble came in trying hard not to offend anyone. Resulting confusion was too sad to witness. The project turned out alright, since we knew what we were working on. Am sure, had we been good friends, that project would have been the boom. Following projects, I have so far worked on, I ensure to turn plain random colleagues, into friends. This ensures free interactions, sharing of ideas, and commenting on what someone else has done, or stated. Where do you fall? Are you a someone who continues to differentiate colleagues from friends? Or you prefer a smooth blend between the two?

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