OK … I admit my title is a little bit clickbaitish. I am not going to talk about office romances.
I describe myself to others as either a gregarious misanthrope or a socially adept introvert – it depends on my estimation of their vocabulary. This is a description I have become more comfortable with over the years. I am OK with preferring my own company most of the time.
Which brings me to office relationships, and at this point I will briefly graze the tips of the topic of office romance. Another thing I am is a flirt. It is how I cope with the world. I am a flirt, I am witty, and I tend to be flippant and chatty , all only when I have to be and until I can scurry away.
This leads people (and yes, some men) on. The truth is I am not all that interested in socializing at the office. I am not here to make friends.
Which lends itself to another brief aside. My friend Lisa likes to point out at every gathering I host that almost everyone in the room started their relationship with me in a work setting. Damn … even my husband was only once removed from my direct office setting. I am not a hermit. I do form bonds with other humans.
Still, I really am not a fan of office relationships.
I like to spend my lunches reading or walking (or shopping). I take that coffee break walk to Starbucks to clear my head. I prefer not to sit in the lunchroom while I eat.
I will chat with you if you stop by my desk. I will make an appearance at the monthly birthday cake event. I will say good morning to you as we pass. If you are my co-worker I will hold the elevator for you. I will make small talk while the presenter sets up at the meeting. I will remember the names of your kids and spouse if you tell me. I will complement your fashion sense if your fashion sense warrants complimenting.
If I agree to the occasional coffee with you, you should know that I genuinely like you.
I know none of that sounds misanthropic or introverted. That’s the gregarious, socially adept side of me showing.
If you ask me to lunch more than three times and I make excuses as to why we cannot that’s your sign that I am simply not interested in socializing. Maybe we chat just fine, but that doesn’t always indicate a deeper connection. I could just be politely tolerating you and your hill-billy political views.
I don’t need four well-meaning people to stop by my office to remind me that the chili pot-luck is on now. One of the other significant eccentricities I deal with on a daily basis is that I have food aversions. Statistically significant issues with food. Specifically, with eating other people’s cooking. Particularly if I have never seen their kitchen. I am not going to eat your chili. I know you think I will because I politely took your wife’s cookie when you trapped me in the lunch room and I wasn’t quick enough on my feet to come up with an excuse not to. Don’t make me come up with some elaborate ruse to get out of eating the meal you are most famous for. We can be casual acquaintances without sharing food and without making extended small talk.
Office relationships are fragile, and I don’t want to fail at them completely. I just want to hide from them most of the time. Is that so bad?