Can a co-worker be your best friend?
Corporate professionals from different walks of life tell Rama Sreekant that it is possible
Devita Saraf, CEO and Design Head, Vu Technologies
My father, Raj Saraf, is my best friend at work. Even though we run different companies, he is my sounding board for ideas and the person I go to when all doors seem shut. Having a small chat with him over a cup of tea helps me find solutions, to my issues at work. His cabin is one floor below mine and I drop into his cabin once or twice a day, for a few minutes, to update him. His opinions are honest and he forces me to make my own decisions instead of giving me unsolicited advice.
It’s a great idea to have a best friend at work, because we all need people to understand and encourage us, but make sure they are peers and not someone who will compete with you.
Aishwarya Nair, Food & Merchandising, The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts
I don't have a best friend at work, but I have immensely enjoyed the company of my General Managers and Management who have a culinary background and a passion for wine.
I think it's important to have an ally at work always because they support your ideas and also offer a great sounding board, which is often important. Having someone to have a heart-to-heart with and brain storming your ideas is an encouraged idea.
Being a hotelier, you often have to be diplomatic. Dealing with people is not easy and having someone to talk to about the actions you will take or in planning something is an important feature of the office space. I don't think the term 'best friend' is what I would call it but rather 'kindred colleague' is more appreciated term.
Soumya Ananth, Human Resources (in an IT product organisation)
Yes, I do have a best friend at work. She was the first person who walked up to me and spoke to me. We would meet regularly during our breaks discuss family, movies and also work issues. She is an extension of my family now.
I am constrained from developing any personal relationship considering I work in the HR division. I just got lucky with this friend who wasn't from the business group, that I was supporting. It was easy for me to talk to her without really having to fear crossing the line. It is important to let your steam, perhaps that's the only way you can last in any organisation.
Sanju Iyer, Therapy Lead- Women's Health (Pfizer)
It is not very difficult to have a best friend at work, but again it depends on your personality. People who are secure, honest, friendly and less guarded make friends easily, trust others and may have a best friend at work. As a phenomenon it is not very usual, but definitely possible. Having said that, having a best friend at work is a boon; it enriches your life since we spend a very big part of our lives at work!
In all the companies that I worked for I have made many friends but few best friends. From my work, my best friend is Bella who still works in my ex-company. We truly care about each other and have been there for each other. Bella and I catch up often for movies, dinner etc.
But sometimes, it is difficult to have a best friend because of competition, lack of shared interests, jealousy, pretense, lack of time, rat race etc so to say. Every relationship needs to be nurtured with quality time and efforts, which people are generally not inclined towards in office.
Prajakta Naik (works for one of the Big Four)
At this stage in my personal and professional life, it is quite child-like to have just one best friend at work. There are a select few friends at work and they are the best, because they are my friends.
My first best friend at work was my then fiancé and now husband. We were doing our CA internship together and that’s when we developed our friendship.
Even now after being together for more than 21 years, we are friends (first) and then a couple. Gradually, as I moved to another organisation and he moved on to a different career, I have made some good friends, who I am sure love me for the person I am and not for what position I hold in the organisation.
I believe, it is very important to have a friendly working environment, which helps to motivate employees and keep them happy. It gives me a sense of fulfillment and achievement, both on the personal as well as professional front. It’s not difficult to have a friend at work, but for married working women have a marathon task of managing both, family as well as career. Further, the competitive rat race also makes it more difficult as you may just not find the time and the right person to befriend who can genuinely be a true best friend.
(Pic courtesy: Thinkstock)