Are Co-workers/Colleagues your friends?

Magilla's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 89

Do you consider your Co-workers/Colleagues your friends? I bring this up because the following happened earlier in a previous thread that sparked some good conversation and debate:

SirTradesaLot:
Magilla:
Going Concern:
TheKing:

Eh, I think a snarky email is ok once in a while.

Disagree. I think it's categorically not okay. The problem with email is that it can be forwarded and leaves an easily accesible permanent trace. The deficiency is of the medium, not the possible content. A chat message or face-to-face can't be forwarded, or at least not as easily captured and used maliciously. In the finance playground, you never really know who your friends are, or who will remain as such.

This. All day. This goes for all professional environments, not just banking. Generally speaking, when there is money, potential promotion, or recognition involved, never trust that your peers/colleagues are showing their full hand. On numerous occasions I've been called in to a superior's/supervisor's/manager's office and walked in to the buzz saw commonly known as "some other dickhead's email." Never a good thing. Once you fire off an email you no longer own it. You have no idea (or control over) what the recipient will do with it. Intentions can be innocent or malicious. Side note: this advice does not ever apply to your friends. Your colleagues are not your friends. They are your colleagues. You can be social and genuine amongst colleagues. They are still colleagues. Not friends. It is always acceptable to tell your friends to go fuck themselves with their father's baby dick via email. Never ok to tell your colleagues that you wish the Associate/VP/MD/Jesus would go fuck themselves with their father's baby dick via email. Verbally over drinks on the other hand is ok... as long as you're drinking Uncle Eddie's rum and not something out of a champagne flute...

I know exactly zero people who have been working more than ten years who would disagree with this sentiment. Co-workers are not your friends.

So how about it WSO? Are Co-workers/Colleagues your friends? Do you believe that you can trust those you work with to cover your ass when shit REALLY hits the fan, professionally speaking? Have your views on this subject changed over the years? Have at it...

Comments (17)

Nov 27, 2012

They can be your friends outside of the office but in a business environment they are strictly colleagues.

Nov 27, 2012

Sure, I think they can be. Especially if you get used to spending 100+ hours a week at the office with them...

Jun 13, 2020

would your real friends in life rather lose their jobs in order to save you when shit really hits the fan? if real friends in real life won't do sth like that, what do you think the chances are with work "friends"? when things get serious, it's everybody for himself.
keep your coworkers close, but not too close.
try to make some friends outside of work.

Jun 15, 2020

Absolutely. I work in a Tier 3 city and my coworkers are all of my friends.

Jun 15, 2020

Yes - a lot of my colleagues are also my friends. At my firm, largely speaking, it's more akin to a family business than it is a corporate environment.

Which is both really good and really, really bad. Depending on the day I change the order of the 'really' in that statement for emphasis. It's most pervasive as you move up the ladder within the company and you end up managing former colleagues (who, in many cases, may also be your friends - or in some cases, close friends). That's tough. It takes a lot of work and mindfulness on the part of everyone involved to make it work. It exacerbates hard decisions and in a lot of cases can make it very challenging to effectively 'manage' people. Accountability can be tough as well - never much fun to come down on a friend when they've made a mistake at work. b

A side effect of this is that it also creates an environment outside of work that resembles work. You all know the same people, you talk about work items - it can be a really caustic echo chamber if you aren't careful - especially if you have anyone in your group who is a complainer. That is probably one of the toughest parts about this - is bringing work into other areas of your life. Add in you may be friends, or hang out with, people you manage or even manage you... you get the picture.

The upside is it creates a culture that is bonded together and, when push comes to shove, relationships that you can really lean into and draw on when needed - especially in tough times. I've also made great, life long friends and as people leave the organization connections that are more than just 'professional' so to speak. It's a pretty nice work environment most of the time as well - people you get along with, like working with, etc. Having sponsors at higher levels with more than just a 'professional' interest is also extremely helpful in growing your career and/or taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

It's not normal. It's something that is very unique and can be quite challenging for those coming into the organization. What's interesting is that as a firm we've grown considerably in the last 10 years and this is really being... well stretched to it's limits. You have new hires from larger organizations who marvel at this type of culture - some who hate it and get out - others who, like myself, don't really notice it as much anymore.

    • 4
Jun 15, 2020

No. The answer is always no.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 15, 2020

isn't one of the pros of IB that you become friends with your fellow analysts/associates bc you spend so much time slaving away with them?

Jun 15, 2020

There are probably 2 - 4 people I could actually see myself hanging out with outside of the office out of my own free will. I'm friendly with everyone, but not friends.

Most Helpful
Jun 15, 2020

As you get older, you begin to realize that you have more "situational" friends (maybe more acquaintances) as other things come into your life, such as you work more, have more family obligations, spend more time on hobbies.

When I say situational friends, it means you have friends in certain places that may not be friends in other places. For example, you may enjoy skiing/the NBA/ and talking politics. Maybe the group of friends you ski with don't care about politics, and the people who you enjoy watching/talking basketball with won't touch a ski. Same thing with the office.

I've had people I've worked with who we get along great, but won't really consider friends outside of the office. We bond over different projects, or a boss/coworker who sucked. It's more about being able to relate to people. Sometimes things that bother you at work sound like complaining if you tell someone else, but make sense to someone who is in the same trench as you. Same thing if Lebron does something and you debate it, a non NBA fan won't care too much.

    • 4
Jun 15, 2020

Definitely, I've made friends with coworkers and continue to talk and hangout, even though we don't work together anymore.

I would not treat coworkers like friends off the bat though. Definitely need a few good years of company happy hours and stuff before.

Jun 15, 2020
Magilla:

Do you consider your Co-workers/Colleagues your friends?

No - for me, they are acquaintances.

Coworkers can be friends, and you could certainly become friends with a coworker over time, but mine are not very high on my list.

    • 2
Jun 15, 2020

if you want a friend...get a dog

Jun 15, 2020

Pena ?

Jun 16, 2020

Yes of course. I don't understand people who come in with an overly formal attitude and act like everyone in the office will cut them down at every possible opportunity. All that contributes to is a toxic workplace. I mean you're around these people 60+ hours a week, it would be miserable if y'all weren't at friends.

    • 1
Jun 16, 2020

It varies.

There is the coworker who you know has your back. They are rare, and I've known maybe three of them during my career. This is the sort of guy who you know has your back, and know that you can bitch at, knowing that you'll get the same in return. This is also the guy that you'll stump for to get a position at your company, sticking your own neck out.

The next step down is a situational friend. They'll help you if you can help them back, but don't expect unconditional support. They are ready to bail to preserve their career over yours.

Below that are acquaintances,who just kinda work with you with no loyalties.

Even lower are frenimes who you compete with and dislike and active work enemies.

    • 1
Jun 30, 2020

Some of my closest friends are those I've made through work - both IB and PE.

Jun 30, 2020
Comment

I have left this site peacefully. The >1.5x MS / SB ratio is interesting. Once my computer updates and removes me from Incognito, I will be washed away like all humans eventually. I don't know when that will happen.