Creative Mondays #051 – You don’t have to like everybody.


Today, I’m going to talk about something that doesn’t quite relate to art and creativity, but it does relate to life and I have often come up against this in my creative pursuits.  It’s also one of those things that when I lay it out people will say, “Well, yeah.  Duh!” but it is something that hit me as an ‘A ha!’ moment several years ago.  I’m thinking that by talking about it here it might lead to an ‘A Ha!’ moment for somebody else.

Several years ago I was reading an interview with Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller and the interviewer asked him a question about his friendship with Teller and said they must hang out together a lot.  Now, I’m paraphrasing here, obviously, but Penn said something to affect of that he and Teller are friends at work, obviously, but they actually don’t spend a lot of time together outside of work and work related events.  They get along great at work but they aren’t the type of friends that hang out all the time.

Around that same time, I heard that the members of the band Barenaked Ladies didn’t hang out together while on tour.  Another huge shock.  While on the road I thought they’d do most things together.

This was a huge revelation to me.  I assumed, perhaps foolishly, that Penn and Teller where together all the time outside their work because their rapport onstage was so great.  My ‘A Ha’ moment hit me.

You don’t have to be friends with everybody.

When we’re in school I think that thought is drilled into us that everyone has to be friends and be happy.  But you don’t.  People will not be comparable with you and you don’t have to be friends with this people.  There’s no punishment for not being friends with them.  You’re not breaking any laws.  In fact, the law says, at least here in America, you are free to not be friends with them.

You do, however, have to get along with them when it comes to work.

This was a hard hurdle for me to overcome, but the revelation that I don’t have to be friends with the people I work made working with them world’s easier.  I can be civil, I can be professional and bring my most creative energy to a project, but I don’t have to be friends with them at all.

I often find myself working closely with people who, not only are not my friends, are people I would rather not be around at all.  But I just keep in mind the fact that though I have to work with them, I don’t have to be friends with them and it makes things worlds easier.

You may have to be in play together, or write something together, or work together on an advertising campaign…or a puppet show.  But you don’t have to be friends with those people the moment you’re off the clock.

Now, I really do try to get along and be friendly with everyone.  That does, of course, make the process of working together easier.  But, know that getting along and being friends are two different things, makes getting the work done more pleasant for everybody.

How do you deal with having to get along with people who you would not be friends with?  Are you someone who can get along with anyone?  Let me know in the comments below.

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One thought on “Creative Mondays #051 – You don’t have to like everybody.”

  1. I get along with everyone. I avoid conflict and try not to join in the “mean girls” club, but find myself joining the bitch session when I have had enough of someone’s annoying habits. It’s a way to blow off steam; but not healthy.

    It’s evident that most of us would have nothing in common besides work. We share stories of our kids, dogs, and spouses – don’t really want to meet them. I used to be hurt by this, now I’ve come to terms with it. My best friends became my best friends when we no longer worked together. Too much togetherness can be bad.

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