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Do You Have a Best Friend at Work? March 11, 2013

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
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Matt_George_and_Best_Friend_Rob_HepplerEveryone in my office had to fill out some HR office morale assessment questionnaire. I know, I feel your fear of the letters “HR”. But in this case our HR department was working to (ostensibly)  improve morale and alleviate any antagonism. Now, I *love* surveys–I love people asking me what I think!–but one particular question stumped me:

Do you have a best friend at work?

Huh. Do I have a best friend at work? I have my coffee buddy Max. My friend Sarah who I meet for lunch but who no longer works in our office. John works on the same niche project as I do so we share a lot of inside jokes. Germaine’s hobby is playwriting and my hobby is non-play writing, so we bond over that. Which one of them, I wondered, was my “best friend”? If I couldn’t choose, then did that mean I did not have a best friend and I’d have to say No; which would skew their results toward “lack of intra-office socializing” or whatever they were trying to measure with that question.

Copious Readers, by now you’ve recognized that whoever in HR composed this survey was thinking in amatonormative terms–that is, normalizing the couple unit at the expense of other kinds of relationships. Even though the survey wasn’t asking about romantic relationships (unfortunately so, because that would have made it much more interesting), it still presumed that a person ought to find The One–just this time, in a platonic office setting.

Copious Readers, do you have a best friend at work? If so, under what circumstances?

How could my HR folks have worded that question better?

–Christina

Photo credit: Jorgitoayala

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Comments»

1. adlin - March 12, 2013

Interesting question. In previous jobs, I’d say I did have a Best Friend at work, but not in my current position. Here, I don’t even have the lunch buddy. It varies from job to job. When I’ve had a “best friend” at work, it’s been the confidant that I know I can share just about any work thing with and it won’t get spread all over the office, plus a person that I can socialize with outside of work. I have not had the “best friend” at every job, though I have office buddies at most jobs.

Maybe HR could have phrased so that asked if you had a close friendship or even an office friendship with co-workers rather than call it a Best Friend?

2. downfromtheledge - March 12, 2013

I think it’s because there’s research that links having at least 1 good friend at work with improved morale.

Even if your job is crappy and you hate everyone else, if you look forward to seeing that 1 person, you can cope with the rest.

3. sneezypb - March 13, 2013

A quick Google of “best friend at work” yielded a Gallup article on the meaning of the question, how people got stuck on best, and changing it to something else lost the power of the question.

Article: Item 10: I Have a Best Friend at Work

4. Stella - March 17, 2013

It’s kind of a childish question, isn’t it? Even in real life I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of friends that deserve the title “Best Friend” but i’d never call them that. They are, however, close friends. One of them was actually from work . . .


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