You know those people who love to bring you some juicy tidbit about someone else? This news-bringer could be a drama-prone relative or a neighbor, but lots of times it’s a coworker. This person considers you a friend, but the whispering over today’s juiciness usually doesn’t end with everyone feeling good about life.
Researcher Brene Brown calls this common enemy intimacy. It’s an attempt to bond with someone over shared hated-things. It’s a kind of relationship hot-wiring that replaces building trust and real friendship. I think these are often the work “friends” that vanish once you don’t work together anymore. You don’t have the same things to complain about, so you stop talking altogether. Sigh.
I think you deserve better than that.
And you can use your lunch break to get it. Try distancing yourself (at least at lunchtime) from this kind of person. Or—even better—look for opportunities to make real connections. Who would you like to connect with (at work or anywhere)? Who thinks like you do? Who, instead of gossiping, would be cheering your better food choices or that you’re finally making time to get outside, or to build your spaceship, or whatever. Those conversations and connections are more likely to leave you feeling better about life, not slightly like you need a shower.
Connecting to the people (and the world) around you in a real way matters. You don’t have find new BFFs, and you don’t need to snub people at work who are bringing you down. Whatever small step you can take today, moving towards better, healthier, and “funner” relationships is…better.