This study says your subconscious is what draws you to your work BFF

Take a good, long look at your water cooler buddy. Chances are you aren’t just work-friends with them because they’ll occasionally spot you a skinny latte. Friendships with coworkers are vital to helping us survive the 9-to-5, from venting about a boss to sharing advice on healthy lunch options.

But it turns out we don’t pick our work friends based on compatibility alone – a new study suggests it has a lot to do with evolutionary survival instincts.

Researchers asked 246 people to imagine four different scenarios: Missing out on a promotion/getting a promotion, and losing a physical fight/winning it. They then showed the participants 20 pairs of faces and asked them which person in each pair they’d rather befriend.

After imagining losing a fight, women preferred more feminine faces while men preferred more masculine ones. The authors theorized men might be seeking the appearance of a strong ally after defeat, while women seek the appearance of compassion and caring.

In short: Struggles or successes at work will influence who you befriend. Thanks, science!