Loneliness at work is something that can really take a toll on our mental health and overall wellbeing. Joining a team of people at a new workplace is tough. It’s like starting a new school half way through the year; Trying to find your friendship group and place within the ‘cliques’, but as a grown man or woman. It’s weirdly patronising and can be intimidating depending on the kind of person you are. It’s especially difficult if you’re the kind of person who really needs company to thrive and survive. Being alone is a huge struggle when it is your weakness. I have a few friends who need human contact and company to feel good, whereas I find it hard socialising, because most of the time, even when surrounded by people, I feel lonely.
Unlike school, when we reach adult life and education is past us, we can find that friendships become distant and we become further away from our school friends, with relationships happening, you go into different types of work, move houses, start families and take different paths in life, changing and growing into different people. One thing I will say is that it doesn’t have to be the end of friendships and it’s important to know that just because you feel further away from people, doesn’t mean that friendships are over, It just means they are growing and developing. Roll with it. Those who matter will stick around and they are the strongest friendships. You will also develop new friendships and you will find your tribe whether that be online, through work or in other parts of your life. Friendships change and you will come to realise that although change can be scary, it’s not always a bad thing. Not speaking to your friend everyday or meeting for cinema trips once a week will most likely change due to commitments, but it does not mean at all that your friendship is over. It means you have your own lives and that’s ok! You will make time for each other and you’ll find that you will comfortably fall into your own routines.
One way I deal with loneliness at work is really reasoning with my anxieties and negative thoughts. I ask myself questions like: “Do you HAVE to be close friends with colleagues?”, “Does it really matter if you aren’t part of the work friendship groups?”, “What are you actually missing out on?”, “What are the negatives of being distanced from colleagues and not making close friendships?”. Yes, these reasoning questions aren’t for everybody, but for someone like me who gets anxious and insecure about not being part of things and feeling left out, these really help me find my neutral mindset and see the logical thoughts.
If you feel it is something that is really making you struggle, please speak to your co-workers or higher ups if you feel you can and maybe they can help you with your anxieties about where you feel you fit in. I know that sometimes my insecurities and anxious thoughts cloud my perception and make me self sabotage, so speaking to someone at work I trust can help me see things from a different perspective and often it turns out I had the completely wrong end of the stick. On the other hand, there really are work places that can be full of stubborn, mean people who are, to but it bluntly bullies. In this situation, maybe seek help in your friends and family outside of work for some support and maybe looking into options to help this.
Thank you so much for reading. Please take care and remember that your health, including your mental health is the most important thing.