Don't Lose Yourself in Your New Circle of Work Friends

Dear Office Mom,
I have moved up quickly at my company and have started hanging out with a new circle of friends at work. They’re great, but I feel like a poser. They have history, come from money, travel a lot and know all about the art and music scene. What can I do so I don’t feel like such an outsider?
— Grace

Oh, Grace.  Yes, that was a big sigh, in case you didn't hear it. I get it that you want to fit in, but please, try not to lose yourself in the process. With that in mind, here are some ideas that might help.

  • Think about what you bring to this little soiree. There's a reason you are part of this new circle of friends. If they didn't like what you bring to it, you probably wouldn’t be in it. Perhaps you need to recognize how wonderful you are and just frigging relax and just be you.
  • People generally love to talk about themselves. By asking open-ended questions, you will engage others and further develop your friendships.
  • Whether it’s a new-to-you restaurant, band, club, or art gallery, when you can research it and learn a little bit beforehand,  you can be more at ease and contribute to the conversation more easily.
  • Don’t shy away from suggesting what to do and where to go. If you are part of the circle at some point that will be the next step.

The allure of new experiences can be enticing, but stop and reflect on how these people make you feel (beyond the imposter bit). Do you feel joy? Does it seem like friendship or more superficial? We all change over time, but don’t change to merely fit in with these work associates. Imitation is exhausting. If they're real friends, they’ll express interest in you and what matters in your life. Otherwise, it may be time to find some new friends.

Stay true to yourself,