do I have to bond with my fellow interns?

I think my fellow interns are great, but I don’t want to spend my limited free time outside work at residents’ social events. Instead, I want to see my wonderful friends and my partner, who have already seen too little of me over the past four years. I want to exercise. I want to be alone outdoors in the fresh air, in a quiet place. Yet the senior residents tell us how important it is to really bond with the other interns.

Does this really apply to us when we’re at a completely different stage in our lives? (stable long-term relationship, living with partner, don’t really drink/party)

My partner went to one residency social event, was about 20 years older than everyone else there, and said, never again.

Added to this, I already lose an hour per day driving to/from work, so time is at a premium.

Throughout med school, I spent a lot more time with outside friends; made a few close friends at school, but that definitely wasn’t the center of my life. I’m not sure why residency should be any different.

Your thoughts, please.

OldManDave is much more qualified than I am to answer this but I would think that you need to have a modicum of networking with your fellow interns partly for possible future contacts and partly, and more importantly to show the upper-level residents and attendings that you “work and play well with others.” This last piece is important as connections and LOR for positions in the future are essential.

Now having said that, it becomes a balance to your own life. I, for example in corporate america, make a conscious effort to AVOID purely social events with my co-workers and upper management, and I have had a few comments back on it. However, I also work hard to network while at work so I compensate there.

Ultimately, you have to live and love with your partner and you both have to fund a balance to do so. My only suggestion is be clear on your number one priority and if you ever feel doubt a “should I or shouldn’t go” conflict, remember what your number one priority and accept what that precept indicates. Don’t waste time on worrying about it. “damn it, your a doctor not a social butterfly” Sorry, I was channeling Dr. McCoy from the original “Star Trek.” See what happens when I respond after two double expressos!

Meowmix, there’s a lot of this stuff at the beginning of intern year but then everyone gets down to work and social stuff becomes much less emphasized.

Be sure to hang with your colleagues at work and get to know them as people, not just co-workers, but don’t think that you need to change the way you relate to people or haul your partner along. My husband attended as few events as he could get away with but he did come along when he knew it was a “family” or “couples” thing and that it would be meaningful to me if he came.

But don’t stress out about it. All this stuff gets forgotten as intern year hits.


I agree…I was busy with 3 stepchildren and their activities and I got a lot of teasing about being a soccer mom…people do understand that you have a life outside of work. I went to very few parties during my 3 years. I would stop by stay 1/2-1 hour if I was getting off work, or was in the area, but that was it. If it was a holiday party sponsored by a faculty member, I made sure I made it, at least for a short period of time. It is a sign of respect to your staff. Again, you do not need to be the first to get there and last to leave. Mary is right, you can get to know the other residents while at work, while grabbing a bite, sitting on call together (when you are not sleeping)…

Just my $.02

Rachel Yealy

I truly have to take care of myself and my family first, and then if I have extra time and there is an event, yes, I go to it. Thank God my program is great and full of folks with families and everyone understands that at times some of us cannot be present. I say take care of your needs first but always get to know your fellow colleagues

I think I may have gone to a total of about 3 or 4 parties during the three years of my residency. I’m a bit of a home body anyway but with a wife and two kids, I wanted to spend what little time I had available with them.

My residency was perhaps a bit abnormal in that most of our residents were sort of like me. Almost all of us had families so the desire to spend time with them was really the norm.

I think it is important for you to bond with your fellow interns. I don’t, however, think you have to party with them to do so. As Mary and Rachel pointed out, there are many ways to get to know them. Use the ones that are available to you without harming your home life.

Take care,


You will definitely benefit from building relationships with your training colleagues; however, partying with them is far beyond mandatory. In fact, you will spend far far more time with them over the next few years than you ever planned or desired to do so. For me, my family was, is & will remain my top priority. Residency will mandate that the preponderance of your time will be spent in-house; however, you still have the power to allocate your free time - what there is of it.

Dance with who brung ya!

So, my emphasis was always on home. But, I definitely made a couple of what I hope will be lasting friendships - the folks I tended to hang with were those like me: old married farts with kids. To be honest, even though I enjoyed the occasional ‘adult beverage’ with the youngsters, it was readily apparent that their interests & motives, not to mention tastes & tendencies, were substantially different from mine. While those differences made for temporarily interesting conversation, I surely was not interested in ‘hunting single quarry’ in the bar, if you know I mean?

Ok don’t take this seriously as I’ve had a headache for over a week, am on coffee overload and working non-stop for the fiscal year end at my company (that’s my disclaimer)

But you mean to tell me when I finally become an intern it won’t be like Greys Anatomy??? Dammit dammit dammit!!!

ah …I am sorry to break the bad news to you but no… it is not much like Greys Anatomy.

but at to the main topic - I pretty much agree with Old Man Dave. I was an absentee husband/father through residency, so pretty much every time I had 2 days together I was back to NH. I was not around for a lot of the social bonding stuff. Yes - I did go out a bit when I was in town and not working, but priority was for home and family. As a result, while my relations with the others in my class were cordial, I was never part of the inner social circle.

But I survived… nuff said