I Hate All My Coworkers


ou know the age-old saying, “It’s not you. It’s me.” I pride myself on living directly opposite that — “It’s not me. It’s you.”

I used to think it was me. When coworkers asked me out for drinks after a long day or over for a party on the weekend, I would make up excuses to avoid hanging out with them. It didn’t help that, at the time, I was in a very toxic relationship where the other person constantly asked, what was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I more social? Didn’t I want friends? Why did I hate all my coworkers?

I internalized all of this. Maybe I was a hermit or an introvert to the max. Perhaps I had a vitamin deficiency. Maybe I was depressed — None of these options seemed too far from the truth. I had struggled with depression in the past, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t eating a balanced diet. I wanted friends but still couldn’t resist the urge to say no to invitations, already picturing how exhausted I would be in preparation for the outing and afterward.

But as the years went on, it finally hit me what the problem was. Sure, maybe it was me. But it was also them.

The gossip, the issues, and the constant talk of work or other drama were draining. There was a time in my life when I craved these things, and they filled a void in me that wanted to latch on to other people’s drama. But as my confidence grew, I no longer found fulfillment in those things. In fact, I outwardly avoid it whenever possible.

I can allot a tolerance for personal and work drama during the workday. Because shit happens, and I can’t control that. I will be there to listen, console— whatever is needed. But that is only possible for me emotionally and mentally because after work, when my time is in my hands, the biggest thing I can control is who I do or do not spend it with.

So what if I want to recharge with my family? It’s what keeps me from yelling at someone at work who won’t stop complaining. So what if I spend the weekend in my pajamas? It’s why I can effortlessly appear in business casual during the week without complaining about the uniform. When I do choose to spend time with a coworker, they can rest assured that I’ve taken care of my needs and our connection is more than just surface level.

Isometimes feel like people misinterpret this: “Be the main character of your life” trend. Taking it to a level of selfishness, they expect friends to be there at a moment’s notice and for everyone to be as invested in their lives as they are. Being the main character of your life instead means setting boundaries so that you feel you are living your life for you. There is some selfishness, but not in the way the media portrays it. I may say no to your work outing, so I can go home and recharge before picking up my kids from school and taking them to gymnastics. That small rest was a selfish yes to myself because I have to carry myself with grace the remainder of the day as I tend to the needs of others around me.

The only way I can drop everything when my friend has an emotional emergency is because, all the while, I’ve set boundaries and lived my life in a balanced way for me.

So it’s okay that it’s you and not me. Because in your eyes, it’s exactly the opposite. Neither of us is in the wrong. Really! We simply both fill out cups in different ways. I won’t be spiteful, trip you in the hall, and ignore the hushed rumors that I hate everyone. Maybe it seems like I do. Or maybe the time hasn’t come for us to connect beyond the surface truly.

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