Finding an ally at work can be challenging, so when you find someone that you gel with, you want to hold onto them. Work BFFs are the best, because they give you someone who gets your work life. But breaking that barrier between the professional and the personal can be tough at work. You don’t want to only have to talk about work, but you don’t want to overstep any boundaries too quickly. You’re dying to curl up on your couch with them drinking wine and dishing on The Bachelor, but you don’t quite know how to make it happen. We’ve collected some of the most important questions to ask your work BFF to solidify your friendship for life.
1. What’s your favorite show that you’re watching right now?
One of the best ways to find common ground is by figuring out where you and your work BFF’s tastes align. Pop culture is a great place to start, because everybody loves to watch something. Odds are, you’ll find something in common, and then you have built in conversation material each week after your mutual favorite show airs! Plus, keeping the conversation light and away from the serious real world or the serious business world will get you guys bonding on a fun, friendly level.
2. Do you want to grab lunch?
Somebody’s got to bite the bullet and be the first person to schedule a one-on-one hangout. Why shouldn’t it be you? Getting out of the office together is a great way to feel more like regular friends, not just work acquaintances. Bonus points if you pick up lunch, so then you have to grab lunch again, so your pal can repay the favor.
3. Can you help me with this project?
Although difficult, asking for help can be a great way to show your work friend that you value his or her input and opinion. The workplace can be tough, because everyone wants to make their mark, so finding someone that you can work with can help both of you rise. However, try to limit your needs to something specific to be efficient with your friend’s time. And if they do help you a ton, make sure your buddy gets some credit for awesome work.
4. What did you do over the weekend?
Getting people to talk about their personal life can be challenging, because you don’t want to ask too much too soon. That’s why starting with weekend activities is ideal. Your work BFF can tell you about dates, activities, maybe volunteer work, and you’ve now got a better insight into your pal’s life.
5. How did that meeting go?
Being supportive of your friend at work will go miles to solidifying your relationship. Show interest in the work that your BFF does. If he or she has concerns, try to offer some advice. Everyone wants to feel like they’ve got someone to confide their successes and failures to, so try to be that person.
6. Are you planning to go to the holiday party?
Work events can be awkward, so why not coordinate with your work BFF? Make sure you’re both there on time, that way you’ll always have each other if mingling goes south. Plus, you might meet each others significant others (if you have them) to further solidify your bond.
7. Do you want to see a movie this Friday?
Starting after work on Friday, it’s the weekend. And asking your work friend out on the weekend is a BIG step. Once you hang out outside of work, outside normal business hours, and on a weekend, that’s when you feel most like friends first, coworkers second. A movie night is a perfect start, because there will be plenty of movie to talk about afterwards, so you won’t feel awkward at a lack of conversation topics outside of work.
8. How much do you make?
Yeah, with any other coworker, this question might be too forward. But that’s what a work BFF is for. When you’re ready to negotiate a raise or ask for a promotion, you can discuss details with your pal before your meeting. And if your friend’s salary is relevant to yours, it might help both of you find leverage in financial discussions.
9. I just screwed up, what should I do?
This is the real reason we all need a work BFF. Things go wrong at work, and we need people we can trust. Whether you sent your boss a scathing email meant for someone else, or you totally forgot about a deadline, a good friend at work can give you constructive advice, because he or she knows the people involved. Your work BFF might even have insight you never considered. Make sure that you use that, because it’s nearly impossible to survive the work world alone.