Work Friendships

April 14th, 2007

“Friendship at work, can it last?”

oludotun famuyiwa

Liam’s Answer

Office friendships fall into two categories. The ’9 to 5 Friendship’, in which you both prefer to spend time with each other chatting than you do sitting at your desk working, but if wither of you died, the other wouldn’t really care. Then there’s the ‘Extended Hours’ friendship, in which you develop a true, deep and abiding friendship with someone who just happens to work in the same place as you do.

The ’9 to 5 Friendship’ is by far the most common type. It’s amazing what sort of losers you’ll become engrossed in conversation with when faced with a mountain of filing or a task to review all the office stationery budgets. I once became great mates with a guy who was obsessed with PHP web-programming languages and would get involved in deep, three-hour discussions about the relative merits of a do…while loop as opposed to a for…each code block, just to avoid reconciling my expense account.

Suffice to say, when I left that job, our relationship didn’t last. And there was always a suspicion in the accounts department about the accuracy of my expense claims.

Then these are the “Extended Friendships” in which the work place only provided the catalyst. I’ve made a number of good friends this way. And not one of them ever features conversations about PHP.

Unfortunately, all of the friendships are doomed to fail when your boss finds out. It’s been my sad experience to discover that most work places don’t exist simply to supplement my social life. I know this because I once tried to get “Strength of inter-office relationships” listed as a KPI in my personal development plan just to have an excuse to chat up the receptionist. Instead, I got the sack.

So, the real question is not whether the office friendship will survive, but whether your job will survive the office friendship.

Don’t be too fussed if it doesn’t. Just make sure your next job is one that involves making friends as a core-component. Jobs like “social worker”, “public relations officer” and “manager of first impressions” all involve that, and can be both lucrative and slack enough for you to skive off with your buddies.

Chris’ Answer

There is no point in even attempting an office friendship. 90% of the people in any given workplace are idiots. Therefore, 90% of the people your could make friends are idiots too.

Even worse, the cool people usually work in different departments and on different floors. Management does this to stop the cool people banding together and causing a mutiny . This means that (assuming you’re not one of the 90%) if you look around you now, everyone you see is an idiot.

So you’re only hope of meeting anyone with being friends with is to hang around in the stairwells on the off-chance that someone else at your workplace has also read this article, and knows that’s where the cool people hang out.

Get real. Do your job then go to the pub and make friends there.

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