Do you have any friends at work? I'm not just talking about acquaintances or colleagues you treat with professional courtesy. Do you have real friends among your professional colleagues?
Eating—and working—all alone
Despite there being more women in the workplace now than ever before, I've noticed that many of us still eat our lunches alone. While the guys might have their little clubs that hold meetings during their lunch breaks, many of us women still eat by ourselves at our desks. We don't go out for golf or happy hour after work either.
Why are we so isolated? Part of the reason is that many of us don't have the luxury of hours outside of the office to go hang out. Often we have kids to pick up, dinner to make, homework to help with, and laundry to fold. We prioritize our families, and our lives outside the office often trump the desire to socialize with colleagues.
But just because we can't hang out like the guys might doesn't mean we can't form friendships with other professional women. We just need to do it on our own terms and in our own timetables.
Take the initiative
So how can you go about building those friendships? Start by taking a look around your office. Rather than waiting for someone to befriend you, can you take the initiative to start or deepen a relationship with a coworker? Is there someone who's always in the break room around the same time that you eat lunch? Instead of taking yours back to your desk, ask her to share a table and eat with you.1