Where did the notion that you can’t be friends with your coworkers come from? This is something I’ve heard ever since the good old age of 15 when I started my first job and cried to my mom when a co-worker took credit for my idea to our boss. I know, dramatic, but nonetheless it was a good lesson. Not to say that it taught me you can’t be friends with your coworkers, but instead never expect your coworkers to be your friends.
Being liked is one of the first things people starting a new job worry about. This comes second to whether or not they’re qualified for said job. In that case they might not be there long enough to make a work bestie, but I digress. This can be due to the intense office culture, a la tech startup. Or that it’s a pretty tight running ship in the form of a corporate office with rows and rows of cubicles. Either way, you know that the people can make or break your experience there. And once you find your work bestie, someone who has proven they can be trusted and like using the same emojis in your skype chat, working won’t seem like that big of an interruption to your
As someone who’s repeatedly broken those work/friend barriers, I’m here to offer a look at how great having a work bestie can be:
1. They know what you’re going through. Doesn’t matter if you’re working at Google, a public school district, or small 5-person startup, they get it. No one outside of that office knows what you go through for roughly 40, but let’s be real, closer to 50 hours a week, like your coworkers, but especially your work bestie. Unlike your non-work friends, you don’t have to explain the ins and outs of office politics to them. “Oh, you know that Jenny totally got overlooked for the promotion because Dan doesn’t like the way she pushes back in meetings.” “Who’s Dan again?” Precisely my point. You want to gossip and vent with someone who already knows all of the key players and can read between the lines of your post happy hour tirade.
2. They are there to celebrate the small victories. Of course your close group of friends will want to get together and shower you in compliments when you get that really big promotion you’ve been working towards for the last six months. But what about when you get a shout out on a team call because of your noticed hard work? Or when your idea gets picked in a brainstorm? Those are the small but mighty victories that your work bestie will be there for. They’ll sneak an “OMG CONGRATS” look and side eye until they can properly high five you at your desk.
3. They can give you realistic advice. Sure it’s great to know what your mom would do if she was going through an entire organizational restructure, but it’s not going to be helpful for you to tell them to “Go to hell” or as endearing it would be coming from your 55 year old mother. Whether they’ve been at the company for a long time, or have just been there to see shit go down, your coworkers have the inside scoop. What senior executive is the best to ask to be a mentor? Who should you avoid getting after work drinks with? These are all life or death matters that your work bestie will be there to answer for or with you. Because let’s be real, sometimes it’s really just about the blind leading the blind.
4. They’ll buy the first and every round after you have a shitty day at work. Got yelled at by your boss? There’s a shot for that. I’d suggest fireball, but hey, I don’t work with you. Messed up an email blast that went to 50k+ people? I think a round of Saki bombs should do just the trick. Work besties are the best drinking partners because they’ll be just as ready to leave and drink their sorrows away as you are. But you love your jobs. Just repeat that to yourself like a mantra until you believe it.
In my opinion, having a work bestie trumps being safe and keeping your personal and professional lives separate. Live a little. Take a drink from the company water cooler. And in the words of everyone’s favorite bae Drake, thank me later.