How to Make -- and Break -- Work Friends

Bob Goldman on

Our buds at The New York Times have been publishing a "7-Day Happiness Challenge." I sincerely hope it makes them happy, because the entire endeavor makes me miserable.

Jancee Dunn is in charge of the Day Five joint, "The Importance of Work Friends." Personally, I have no problems with friends and I have no problems with work, but mixing the two together sounds very risky to me, like mixing whipped cream with Vaseline, or spaghetti with confetti, or tofu with just about anything.

Despite my misgivings, a 2022 Gallup report concluded that "people who have a best friend at work are more likely to innovate and share ideas, get more done in less time and report having more fun."

Of course they do. People with work friends always want to make themselves out to be the perfect employees. That's because they know their work friends are out to get them, and their only hope is to get them first.

They could do it, too. With a close friend, you're sure to blab about how little work you do and how much you get away with. You're also likely to whisper sweet nothings about your sweet nothing of a manager. By the time you finish baring your soul to your Best Friend Forever, you'll find that Forever is limited to your next annual review -- an occasion that is likely to be celebrated by your BFF taking your job and your salary.

Because, hey, isn't that what work friends are for?


But don't listen to me. Reporter Dunn didn't, and that's why her article provides four strategies to "forge new workplace connections." Let's move nearer to the forge and take a closer look.

No. 1: For someone you don't know.

According to Shasta Nelson, a "friendship expert," your first move in making a work friend out of a work stranger is to "follow up about something that a person mentioned in a meeting or a group setting." The person, Nelson predicts, will be "surprised and pleased."

For example, if a co-worker announces in a status meeting that a critical project is 100% on schedule, you could pipe up with "but you told everyone at lunch that you hadn't started the project, and didn't plan to, and your loser manager was so busy trying to get the attention of the big boss they'd never notice."


swipe to next page

Copyright 2023 Creators Syndicate, Inc.




Dave Granlund Steve Kelley Marshall Ramsey Mike Lester Mallard Fillmore Popeye