The Effect Close Friends Have on Your Life (And: How to Choose Your Friends)

There’s a famous quote about how you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. As I get older, I definitely have noticed this, both in good and bad ways. From a simple fashion perspective, if all your friends are buying $1,500 purses, you feel like you’re the thrifty one if your bag is only $500. Meanwhile, if your friends are all using bags they paid $20 for at Target a few years ago, spending more than $100 on a bag feels insane. From a business/career perspective, people whose friends are all coming up with ideas for businesses seem much more inclined to go out and pitch VCs and angel investors and then immediately spend the 5, 6, or 7 figures they get, making tons of hires and leasing office space. On the flip side, if all your friends are choosing to stay home to raise their kids, that choice starts to look much more realistic and doable. This even makes a difference from a health perspective — if your closest friends eat and drink to excess, odds are really high that you will as well. (There was even a study about how your friends and family influence your weight!)the effect close friends have on your life - and how to choose friends wisely

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Should You Ever Hire a Friend?

hiring-friendsHiring friends: yea or nay?  Does your answer vary if you’re hiring a friend to be a colleague/equal versus hiring an assistant?  We’ve talked about interviewing with friends, but not the reverse situation, hiring a friend. Reader M wonders…

I work at a small law firm. I’m pretty junior, but I have a considerable amount of input on decisions about the business. We don’t have an HR department or a formal hiring process. We’re getting pretty busy and I think it’s time to hire a new assistant to help us handle the work. A friend’s girlfriend recently moved to our city and has experience working as an assistant in a professional environment. I’m thinking of asking her if she’d be interested in the job – I know how hard it can be to find a good job in a new city and I know she’s qualified, so I’d be happy to help her and add some one likeable and competent to our staff in the process. Is it always a bad idea to hire a friend?

Interesting question, M.  There are two things that concern me about this situation.  First: she’s your friend’s girlfriend — not your friend.  You don’t know if/how things will end between them, or how awkward it’s going to be if you have to choose sides.  The second thing is that she’ll be an assistant — and being friends with staffers can get kind of murky, particularly for women.  In this situation there are two considerations here — first, if you and she are pals around the office, your superiors might start viewing you as “one of the girls,” which isn’t going to be good for your career.  Second, if you know this person enough to let your hair down around her, socially, it’s going to be a bit awkward giving her assignments and acting like a boss with her. (After all, you need to be respected, not liked.)  There needs to be some separation between work and life — and to me this is way too little space.

Readers, what are your thoughts — would you ever encourage a friend to apply to an administrative/secretarial position at your workplace?

Psst: we’ve talked before about using friends to network, as well as competing with friends for jobs.

Pictured: New Best Bitches set of friendship necklaces, available from Etsy seller guiltyeocrc for $4.50. 

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When Friends Compete for Jobs…

Gold, Silver, Bronze, originally uploaded to Flickr by TofflerAnn.When friends compete for jobs, can you maintain the friendship? Reader L wonders how to stay friendly with people who compete for the same jobs she is…

I am about to graduate from graduate school in a professional field. My friends and I are all searching for similar jobs. How can we deal with the competitive nature of the job hunt, specifically in our field, without letting it get in the way of our relationships? I feel pangs of jealousy when a friend gets an interview for a job I applied for (a highly immature reaction, I know) and I’m sure I’m not the only one of the group to feel this way. I try to avoid discussing the job hunt, but it seems to come up in conversation regardless. Help!

We got into this a bit back when another reader asked about being competitive with her significant other, but I don’t think we’ve talked about it in the abstract.  So let’s discuss.  (Pictured: Gold, Silver, Bronze, originally uploaded to Flickr by TofflerAnn.)

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