Laverne and Shirley. Grace and Karen. Rizzoli and Isles. These television characters make it look so easy—not to mention fun—to work with your best friend. All you do is gossip and make jokes and then, if there’s any time left, you do some work.
But that’s television. Is having a best friend at work in real life that much fun? And is it good for your career?
There are a few schools of thought on the best-friend-at-work conundrum. According to research by Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without, people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work. Gallup research shows that close friendships at work boost employee satisfaction by almost 50 percent. A friend at work can be a source of inspiration, can help you keep up morale and, of course, gossip with you in the bathroom.
But what about when your BFF gets promoted and you don’t? You could very quickly go from Lauren and Whitney to Lauren and Heidi on “The Hills.” Support can turn to resentment fast. And what if you told that person some very personal things about yourself? It could come back to haunt you in a major way.