Last night I went out with some friends, a few co-workers, and the friends of one of the co-workers. It was an interesting crowd, and we had a good time. It's funny, the last three jobs I've had, I haven't really made any friends. Two of them were jobs waiting tables, so I'm sure that's part of it. I never could fit in with the constant party attitude of servers. The job before that I just couldn't get into it.
Going into this new job, which I started in December, I didn't even consider making friends there a possibility. The first few weeks I ate lunch by myself and kept to myself, and I wasn't unhappy. Then once we got out of training and onto the floor, this pesky kid who was in my training class and whose desk was near mine kept asking me to go to lunch with him and some other people. I didn't want to, but I had trouble saying no to him, so I went. Now, six months later, he and another co-worker of mine are such close friends I can't believe I ever turned him down. The other day he said to me, "Remember how it was like pulling teeth to get you to come to lunch with us? Why didn't you want to come to lunch with us?" I said to him, "Actually, I didn't think there was any way in the world I would end up liking you guys so I figured I shouldn't bother." Instead of being offended by that, he simply said, "I guess it's a good thing I did what I knew was best for you."
After getting to be friends with these people (my first new friends in I don't know how long) I was offered a promotion that would transfer me to a different department of the company. I hesitated on going, since I'd have to leave the friends I had just made. Then I realized I was being silly, and I took the job. For the first week I sat next to an empty desk, then a guy started in the department and sat next to me. I immediately felt comfortable with him and in just a few months we've become extremely close. He is the person I went out with last night. We went out, we drank a little, we danced a little, we got some greasy food at the Paper Moon. It was such a good time that I couldn't believe I hadn't been friends with him for so long. I had been worried beforehand, too, because the first time I hung out with my other work friends, the ones who harassed me into eating lunch with them, I made a total ass of myself.
That night we went out to Water Street, which is a nice, outdoor place to hang out and drink and socialize. Somehow I then got convinced to go to the Iguana Cantina, a dance club that is frequented almost exclusively by people who just turned 21 and who are dressed in less clothes than I care to see (one of my co-workers is a baby, just 22 years old). I was so uncomfortable there that I compensated by drinking A LOT and ended up being quite embarrassing. The next Monday at work I was afraid they wouldn't want to hang out with me again (why I have no idea) and when I said something about it Erika said, "It was just Dan and me. You could never scare us off." That simple declaration of unconditional friendship meant so much.
I think I finally found a place to work where I belong and where I can be myself. It's nice.
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