"Friends" at work?

  1. Hello y'all! I am wondering how friendly you are with your coworkers. I have read quite a few posts in which someone says s/he doesn't engage in ANY personal discussions or sharing, joking, anything beyond what is required to do the job.
    So, how is it for you? Do you consider your coworkers as your "friends"? Do you socialize outside work? Do you share personal stuff--kid's antics or achievements, if hubby's in the doghouse again ( ;-) ), health scares, fertility challenges, money worries? Any of that stuff that you would talk about with a girlfriend? Are there coworkers that you tease, maybe call by a special nickname? Do y'all joke around, help keeping the shift light? Is there a little rough, salty; sailor talk used when needed, lol? Chat your way through a "break"? Ever had a impromptu sing-along with some classic Madonna on the unit radio or challenge that CNA to a "dance-off" in an empty room at 0200?
    ***Note: I do ALL of the above at work, but my patients are taken care of in an extremely compassionate and competent way at ALL times. I hope no one misconstrues any of the above to mean that patient care is not absolutely freaking awesome at my hospital!***
    I consider most coworkers as friends. Went to a wedding for one recently, and baby showers for another two day-shifters. Us night-time girls are helping a widowed LVN think of ways to ease back into dating, giving her dating ideas/advice.
    I go to the gym often with my "best" work friend when we get off in the morning; often there's a couple more, depending on who worked that shift. We do potluck dinners monthly and "celebrate" each others' birthdays with a cake.
    This system works GREAT for us. There is an occassional "loner" (for lack of a better word)--no big deal, we respect that.
    So...what about y'all?
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   That Guy
    Yup I'm friends with the people I work with. We regularly go to the bars after shift or meet up at someone's house for a BBQ when we can. Some of my best friends I worked with at my last hospital
  4. by   Mike R
    I could never solely interact out of job necessity. It's hard to build strong trusting professional relationships without knowing what lies beneath. That and I can almost guarantee you that I'll subliminally treat a coworker differently if they appear to be an antisocial robot.
  5. by   not.done.yet
    I am friendly with my coworkers but I would not refer to them as "friends". Honestly I would not have time for another group of friends outside of work. I do enjoy interacting with them and share about life on a very limited basis. I would never share money woes, marital strife, etc and would be extremely uncomfortable if someone was discussing such things with me. It just isn't something I have room for, if that makes sense. I draw boundaries around my work life.

    That being said, we laugh a lot, support one another and discuss a lot of nursey stuff that I find very fulfilling. These are people I care about, just not quite the same way I am bonded with the group of girlfriends I have outside of work.
    Last edit by not.done.yet on Jul 7, '12
  6. by   RNperdiem
    We are "friendly" at work, but not true lifelong "friends". If I quit my job today, I probably woudln't be in contact with any of them 3 years later.
    We are friendly enough to make working toghether pleasant, but oversharing is not that common. There are a few nurses who do socialize outside of work too.
    It depends on where you work, and there is a gender role.
    My husband works in an almost entirely male engineering office. These guys have worked together for years, and do not know their coworkers personal life details, nor do they express any curiosity either. I can tell you the names of most of my coworkers children, my husband knows one, and that is because he started working at the office.
    And yet, the office is not unfriendly or cold, it just works by different rules.
  7. by   Dina_RN
    Interesting, I think there should be a happy medium at work. Most of my time at work is taken by pt care and paperwork. If I take a break I am doing paperwork at that time too. I am more friendly with some colleagues then with others, but I do like to keep a boundry between staying professional. As long as you can achieve a happy medium between everything I say, do what makes the shift easier for you. The 13 hours can be rough, so if joking around sometimes keeps it lighter, then why not?
    - my 2 cents
  8. by   Aeterna
    We're pretty friendly with each other on our floor. Some people are more, um, open about their personal lives than others. A few don't divulge much about theirs. I'm one of the quieter people, but my life is incredibly boring (no, really...I'm single and live alone with my cat) so there isn't much to talk about. However, I'd feel uncomfortable answering very personal questions. I have no issue telling people where I'm from, if I have siblings, where I went to school, etc., but if people started probing into more personal stuff, I wouldn't answer. There are boundaries, you know? I think that if you want to tell people your personal details in the middle of the nursing station, don't be surprised if people are talking about it the next day.

    However, I have made a few friends at work. I moved out here on my own and knew no one when I arrived, so the people at work are some of the only people I interact with around here. I've told them some very personal things about myself, but that's only after we've gotten to know each other and built a certain level of trust.

    There are issues with having friends at work, though. I have one friend who thinks that, because we're friends, I'll pull favours for her, like prioritize helping her first over others >_> Again, though, I have boundaries and when I'm at work, I'm in "work mode" and will do what's in the best interest of the patients.
  9. by   MedChica
    I am 'friendly'. I laugh and joke around, but I no longer keep friends at work.
    We're not hanging out on the weekends. No - I may not go to the Christmas party. Stop asking. I don't discuss my personal business with anyone which is difficult because everyone wants to get in your personal business.
    Lots of over-sharing takes place. In my experiences, anyway.

    I don't say that it can't be done. I don't say that I've never done had work besties that bled inot real life, but not at my current place of work. Sorry.

    They're gossipy. I don't like that. They're busybodies. I don't like that, either. There's always gossip and coworker bashing going on at the nurses station. I don't like being around that. I feel like, if I can't say it to your face? I won't say it behind your back.
    That's me. Others...differ.
    Running your coworkers into the dirt destroys morale and I know because the very minute I caught folks doing it? I developed immediate reservations and steered clear of some of them. If they talk ugly about this girl (who is actually nice). What do they say about me?
    This individual senses 'something' in our shallow interactions. There is 'something'. I didn't have a 'problem' with her until I heard what she said about our coworker.
    So, I just don't go into the nurse's station unless I need something.

    They've tried to draw me into the bashing of one coworker, too. Yes!
    I speak to her. Why not? Hell, I speak to everyone. LOL So, they kind of look at me and poke fun on occasion. 'Oh, that's your best friend' and blah, blah, blah.
    Light-hearted jeering. I don't have much issue with this nurse. Though I think it tacky to0 continuously drag the entire staff into your drama, the dislike is known and fairly mutual. At least she's upfront about it. Not going around the other girl's back.
    So, I say, "I don't have any friends in this dept. I have professional relationships with everyone. I talk to her because I don't have a problem with her. I'm no closer to her than I am to you...and I'm talking to you, so..."
    The jokes continue and I participateright nown it. Get a few laughs. They're funny after all.
    I simply say, "Well...meh. I'm not in that. Not my business. I don't spread gossip. I don't peddle info back n forth...mostly 'cause I dont' like to be in the midst of drama and crap...."
    The jeering continues.
    SMH
    LOL
    I laugh and exit the nurse's station. It's like a shark tank in there.

    I'm not the only one who does it, too.
    I've witnessed them badmouthing each other, then badmouthing a member of the group when a smaller number of them gathers. Seen a bunch. Way I see it?
    If you talk about them, you'll talk about me. I read people well. I worked in a rad dept that was cut-throat beyond belief. Coming into nursing? I know what to expect. I know 'toxic' when I see it. When I see any of this two-faced/******/drama queen/Mean Girl behavior, I know that it's in my best interests to keep to myself. Mostly.
    I'm naturally reserved but I do have a personality. I just put my head down and do my work. I keep to myself at work. I'm not the only one in my dept who does this.
    Ironically, WE (the quiet ones) kind of clique up at work. It's strange. LOL
    Apparently, they know better than to get all 'friendly' with our coworkers, too. We don't badmouth our coworkers, but we just intuitively 'know' what's really going on, I think.

    If a coworker is quiet and off to themselves? There's a good reason for it, usually. They've probably been burned or they know enough to recognize certain personalities/dept dynamics for what they are...and stay under the radar.
    Last edit by MedChica on Jul 10, '12
  10. by   TX.RN.Shannon
    I definitely get what you're saying. Funny how a "friend" can turn into a smack-talking, back-stabbing, two-faced b***h! Then she wonders why I won't talk to her...duh! It's WAY worse than high school, sometimes.
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    being friendly at work is essential to team building, and having good teamwork is essential to enjoying your job. those folks who go out of their way not to have any personal conversations are robbing themselves of the opportunity to be a part of the team. but being friendly isn't necessarily the same thing as being best friends at work.

    i try not to share anything too personal at work . . . but then, my husband works at the same place. so if i come to work and complain about what a jerk my husband is being, those are his colleagues i'm complaining to as well. i'll definitely share the antics and achievements of pets, kids and mom (who, in the late stages of alzheimer's is good for some funny stories) but not money worries, health scares or fertility treatments. that said, i have cancer and i made sure that i told the colleagues to whom i felt the closest face to face before they had a chance to hear it via the grapevine. my cancer isn't a health scare; it's documented fact.

    i'm older than the majority of the people i work with, and even before the cancer i didn't socialize outside of work-arranged outings. the goodbye party for our old nurse manager, the annual end of year party or christmas party -- that sort of thing. it's not that i wouldn't socialize with my colleagues, it's just that it hasn't come up all that frequently. back when i was younger, and most of my colleagues were the same age and single also, i socialized with them all of the time. (that's how i got together with my dh). that bit me in the butt a time or two, but four of my best friends are people i've worked with at one time or another -- plus my husband. we do have potlucks every week, though, and i'm missing that right now. one of my colleagues makes a crab dip that is to die for!

  12. by   NicuGal
    Yes, 8 of them are my best friends after being there for almost 28 years together. We all had our babies at the same time, we had all gotten married around the same time, we worked the same shift, we mourned one of the girl's husbands death with her like sisters. Even when I was in management, and now 2 of the others are, we know the boundaries between professional and personal. If we have to be spoken to about something or if one of us does something not right, then we still confront each other about it and what happens at work stays at work. Might be a little miffed for a few days, but it always blows over.

    It is up to you how comfortable you are. But sometimes life long friends are made at work
  13. by   caliotter3
    Most of the time I have no contact with other nurses on any home care cases because our shifts usually do not coincide. When we do meet coming and going, we engage in some chit chat between shifts but don't necessarily call each other outside of work to talk. That's about it.
  14. by   turnforthenurse
    We are pretty friendly at work. Some are more "open" than others and some are much more quiet than others depending on the crowd. We all hang out outside of work on occasion but that's about it.

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