All Articles Leadership Careers Brooke blogs “The Office”: Formality vs. friendship

Brooke blogs “The Office”: Formality vs. friendship

2 min read


As usual, they crammed quite a lot of action into “The Office” this week: Michael is overwhelmed by the extra work brought on by the absorption of the Buffalo branch. Darryl files a workers’ compensation claim for a broken ankle, and Dwight launches an investigation that could have spawned a ridiculous number of lawsuits. Jim requests a promotion and finds his plans thwarted by Michael. Pam tries to pin down RSVPs for her and Jim’s wedding.

Through all of that one theme jumped out to me — and if my obsession with advice columns serves me well, it’s a perpetual issue in all sorts of workplaces: How friendly should you be with your co-workers?

Michael claims Jim is his “best friend,” but then in a ridiculously misguided attempt to keep him around, he tells big boss David Wallace that Jim would not be good for a promotion that should have been a slam dunk. Jim has to walk the line of defending his career while attending to Michael’s emotional neediness.

At the same time, Pam admits that she and Jim planned their wedding at Niagara Falls so they could invite their co-workers and avoid having anyone actually show up. But Michael gives everyone two days off of work to travel and Pam is stuck trying to pin down RSVPs from her wishy-washy colleagues in an attempt to avoid wasting $75 a head on no-shows.

I think this issue comes up again and again because the answer varies so greatly and involves the consideration of a number of factors. It would be simple if it were clear-cut whether you should have a serious, formal relationship with your coworkers or a friendship that could even extend beyond work hours. It varies based on corporate culture, who you work with, personality and so much more.

How have you answered this question for yourself? Share that and any funny stories of work friendships gone awry here!

If you missed last night’s episode, NBC has it free to watch online.