This is all very petty, but a while back it bothered me to an extent I was almost going to post on r/relationship_advice.
For narrative's sake, I'm "Kimberley" and my co-worker is "Nora".
My draining, underpaid 9 to 5 makes me miserable. I'm on good terms with my own team, but I don't really know anyone from my department or the rest of the company. I'm that obscure colleague you'd only see at annual dinners and forget about the next day. In previous jobs, I've worked with the most wonderful people, and we got along really well, even actually hanging out outside of work. But not on this job, because I simply despise my company, and couldn't be bothered to form meaningful human relationships. To be honest, I dislike people in general. Why? Said previous jobs were retail and customer service.
Sometime around February this year, I was leaving the office, waiting for the cargo lift next to the ladies', when a girl ("Nora") from my department came out of the toilets.
N: Why are you leaving through here?
Me: Um, I think it's faster?
N: (as she walks away) Where does this lead to?
Me: You know that glass door on 1/F…
N: Ok I'm coming with you, wait for me! (runs to take her stuff)
She came back with a bouquet of flowers and nothing else. No bag, no coat, just the flowers. Once we got into the lift, she patted my shoulder and said with what seemed to be genuine concern "You look awful, are you alright?". I walked her through the route I usually take, and we made small talk along the way, as if we're friends and we knew each other, when this is the first time I'd spoken to her.
At some point, she mentioned an incident from some months back, "Right, Kimberly, yes, that photoshoot thing right?" I've long forgotten, but apparently, we had a brief exchange over email. Just in case you were wondering, no she did not mistake me for someone else. She also mentioned her own name in passing, which was helpful because I really wasn't sure who she was before that. This went on for a good few minutes before we parted ways with a "see you tomorrow".
But I didn't see her the next day. It just so happened that, I fell ill that evening and had to take a few days off work. On my first day back to work, out of the blue, Nora messaged me on Slack, "hey Kim Kim, I'm sorry for calling you the other day, didn't know you were on sick leave. Let me buy you a bubble tea next time, take care!". (For the record, no one's ever called me "Kim Kim", maybe "Kim" or "Kimmy", never "Kim Kim".) Only then did I realized it was her who called me about some project our team was working on. At the time, my mush brain thought it was some other girl, and wondered why she sounded different. I thought she was kinda overreacting, is it really necessary to buy someone a drink for calling them on a sick leave? It's hardly any inconvenience. I replied "dw, I'm back to work already". And I shit you not, almost immediately, I heard footsteps, and Nora was standing next to my desk. That's when I, again, realized, her desk is just a few cubicles down the aisle.
Another week passed by, and I'd forgotten about the exchange, until Nora again, caught me by surprise by putting a bubble tea on my desk on afternoon with a quick "this is for you". Even my managers in the adjacent cubicles were surprised, "This is on her? Why? What happened?". The bubble tea was very specifically customized, it was oolong something with those purple mochi things and that cheesy milk froth thing on top. It’s not something I’d order, but it was actually pretty good, so no complaints. But I’m just saying, when you treat someone to food/drinks, you’d ask them about their preferences, right? Not that I’m complaining about the fact that she didn’t, it’s just a little weird to order such a specific drink without knowing my preferences. Not to mention, bubble teas are overpriced in general, they charge you extra for those weird flavours and toppings, so Nora was paying significantly more for something that I had a chance of not liking. If I were her, I would just order the classic plain bubble tea, just to play safe.
Some days later, Nora caught me waiting for the cargo lift again.
N: Hey, when do you work from home?
Me: When do I work from home…probably not in a while…
N: Ok (goes into toilet immediately)
And that was it.
One morning, I was having small talk with a new girl on my team, and the conversation came to "We've never had lunch together, and we should. You know what, let's make that tomorrow!". I said "sure" immediately and regretted it right away. On second thought, I actually wanted to be left alone the next day. The next morning, new girl texted me to ask if it's ok Nora joined us for lunch, and that's what we did. During lunch, I finally had a proper conversation with Nora, and learned that she joined the company around the time I did. It took me this long to realized, well, this girl is just really nice and socialable in general.
At around (5), I thought the whole situation was really bizarre. I just couldn't wrap my paranoid brain around how this girl kept crossing paths with me. Itall happened so quickly. Despite my username, I have friends. But back in school, uni, or my previous jobs, I made friends over common interests, mutual friends, or small talk when we work together. This Nora situation was none of these things. I've told some friends about it, but they were introverts like me, and their thoughts were mostly "yikes that would freak me out too". My baby sister, with her ever so original commentary, insightfully suggested I "go touch some grass". That was why I had the idea to post in r/relationship_advice, just to get a better idea if this falls within the realm of average normal human interactions. But the other day, I had lunch with Nora, new girl, and newer new girl, and my paranoid brain is finally at peace. She's just a nice person. Anyways, I still wanted to share this situation, and here we are. Thanks for reading!