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Having An Office BFF: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

You can’t imagine the office without her. She’s your coffee buddy, lunch mate, vent session partner, ultimate work cheerleader, the one who has made the corporate jungle less lethal for you. Your office BFF is such a mainstay in your life that your family and other groups of friends know her well, too. You’re so grateful for her presence in your life—who would’ve thought you’d find someone who understands you that much in the hectic world of work, right?

An office BFF isn’t easy to find, but once you do, everything just gets so much better… or does it really? Are office friendships always rosy and genuine? Does your office BFF help you to be the best you can be? When push comes to shove, will she have your back all the way? As with any other relationship, you’ll never be sure of the answers to these questions until your friendship has been tested. And since nothing in this world is perfect, it’s important to look out for yourself as much as you look out for your friends because when office politics, ambition, and external pressures are thrown into the mix, you never know how ugly things might get.

There are always different facets to every story and every relationship, and when it comes to workplace friendships, these are the ones worth noting so you won’t be afraid to trust and establish strong ties while making sure your office BFF doesn’t become your frenemy:

The Good:

  • You can find genuine, long-lasting friendships in the office. Like in school, it is possible to find the I-got-your-back-sleepover-friends-forever type, says HR consultant Ana Lachica. “You just know it when it’s for keeps. Trust your instincts but also know and separate work from personal matters,” she adds. Your office BFF is your ultimate partner-in-crime and will help keep you sane when work becomes too crazy, without condition—and that’s when you know it’s real, just like how it is outside the four corners of your workplace.

  • Since you’re together all day, every day, you see the real her, both during great moments and gloomy ones. “Through your daily encounters, you get to discover the real character of your colleague, how she deals with emotional and work-related issues, as well as her strengths and weaknesses,” says Meg Sta. Ines-Hernandez, mother to Tatiana, 8, and a marketing and communications manager. Hence, it’s easier for you to gauge her true character because you’re thrown into different situations together. Through your consistent exposure to each other, it’ll be easier for you to determine if the friendship is for keeps.

The Bad:

  • Being around someone you’re very comfortable with could make you lose focus. You might get too busy making chika, venting to each other, or comforting one another that work gets set aside. Remember, while you’re lucky to find an office BFF, you’re still in the workplace and you shouldn’t spend your hours dilly-dallying.

  • Your so-called office BFF may have other priorities that are opposite yours. For Katrina Yap-Sotto, trade marketing manager and mom to Diego, 8, who believes that having an office BFF means having a reliable support system when things aren’t going well,” the only disadvantage is when you and your friend disagree over a joint project or when you’re both gunning for a promotion. In cases like this, Ana’s advice couldn’t ring any truer: Don’t take things personally—ruthlessness is never the key, so keep your personal and professional lives separate.

The Ugly:

  • Rumors from other people. “You become friends with your boss and suddenly, people in the office think everything is in your favor,” says Ana. The best way to prove them wrong is to work hard and not take advantage of your friendship. People will always say things; what matters is that you know you’re not doing anything wrong. Office politics can be so ugly, so make sure not to get sucked in. It’s as important to have a strong grasp of your principles as it is to trust that your office BFF has got your back.

  • Your office BFF changes, unfortunately, not for the better. As with everything else in life, not all disagreements get resolved amicably. Betrayal is a common result of two people not finding a common ground. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s always better to take the higher road. Your “office BFF” may have done something that hurt you, but retaliating with hurtful words or acts will just make matters worse. Talk to her amiably, and if she still doesn’t see the light, it’s time to walk away and make room for more positive, meaningful relationships with other people.

Consider yourself lucky if you find genuine office BFFs, but also keep in mind that as with life in general, not everything is always smooth sailing. The best friendships are anchored on give and take, honesty, and genuine care and concern for the other. Always have truckloads of understanding, patience, and compassion so when the going gets tough, you and your office BFF can weather the storm together.

This article was originally published in Working Mom. Changes have been made for Metro.Style.