Service of Some of My Best Friends Have Been Office Friends

January 7th, 2019

Categories: Friends, Friendship, Loyalty, Office


I’ve often told the story of an office friend at my first job after college who called in sick for a week and returned to the office with a nice tan. She’d spent seven days in Florida. We worked in NYC and it was winter. I knew her plan and was relieved that the boss didn’t ask me anything about her absence or state of health. I’d never have the nerve to pull such a ruse then or now and wouldn’t have been thrilled to have to cover for her. We were close enough that we attended our respective weddings.

Melissa Dahl wrote “Why Work Friendships Can Be So Awkward” pointing first to a set of ex friends. Why?  One felt betrayed when the other voted against his proposal in a meeting. Another example: friends tired of fixing the mistakes of a pal who is terrible at his/her job.


In her New York Times article Dahl quoted Rutgers associate professor of human resource management Jessica Methot, PhD, who said: “You’re co-workers first and friends second.”

Dr. Methot observed that office friends “don’t address problems they have with each other.” She found “One of the problems we see is that people who become closer with each other don’t actually communicate well. We see this with spouses really frequently—they expect the other person to read their mind and we see a watered down version of that in friendships. ‘You already know this about me, do we really need to talk about it?’”

Did any of your office friendships last after you changed jobs? Have you succeeded most easily in the workplace when you made no office friendships? Were you ever placed in an awkward spot involving an office friend? How did that impact the relationship?




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8 Responses to “Service of Some of My Best Friends Have Been Office Friends”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    It’s great to stay in touch with people that you once worked with… Glad we are still friends. It’s very enriching even through all the miles and years.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I think of you every day as I decide whether or not to put on another sweater in my office. Why? You left me your thermometer which right now reports 69.8 degrees. Brrr.

  3. David Reich Said:

    Yes, office friends can become friends in general. You are one example, Jeanne.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Awwwwwwwwwwwww. Feeling’s mutual.

  5. EAM Said:

    I’ve often envisioned my office friends become more than just that and have often left feeling disappointed. My friend asked me “Are you friends or are you friendly?” Yes, I’ve developed friendships with office mates but sometimes it does shift after you leave a job, especially when one of you has been laid off and the other stays.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Some people are so focused on their careers that they can’t be bothered with anyone who can’t help them in that regard. It’s insulting but it reflects only on the super striver. I’ve met plenty of them.

    The reception such people get when they come back on the scene to ask you a favor depends on you. I remember one man my husband knew whom he’d not heard from in years. He called with his condolences on his father’s death that he’d read about in the Times, took a breath and immediately asked deep dish questions of a business nature. Bad timing! I doubt he learned anything during that call!

    I haven’t had too many opportunities to not be helpful but I can always look forward to them. You know the old saying about being nice to people on your way up as you’re bound to meet some of them on your way down!

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    Yes. Some friendships are still extant and have been going strong for the last 30+ years.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    After 30 years you must have gotten along well with these people in the day without dicey situations to spoil a friendship.

    One friend was told by a prospective employer, “we are like a family here,” and he responded, “I already have one of those thanks.” He got the job anyway! Friends can be as loyal as relatives. It’s obvious if you spend hours at work that you won’t have too many other places to make friends unless you are active in clubs, associations or your children’s school’s parents association.

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