It’s Okay to Work with Friends

By Alan Irazoqui.

I have heard many times that it is really hard to work with either your family members or friends. That if you can avoid doing that, you should totally avoid it. When I have asked why it is such a dreadful thing to do, the reason they give me is that it is hard to separate the friendship from the professional relationship. For example, if there is a friend beef going on it will most likely impact negatively the office environment; or, in the contrary, if you guys get along great, it might be difficult for the one in charge to “boss around” his friend or to take your boss friend seriously.

In my personal experience, I have found that it is a good idea to work with friends, as long as they are TRUE FRIENDS. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. A true friend knows you.

This person has most likely seen you bawling your eyes out watching Lilo&Stitch, attempting a lame move on a girl/guy, win the Spelling Bee contest, and walk down the aisle on your wedding. Also, they were the person you called when you broke up with your first boyfriend/girlfriend, when your parents decided to get a divorce, when you were accepted at the college you wanted to attend, and when you found out you were having a baby.

They have been with you through thick and thin, which means 2 things: one, they will always be there for you and two, they know what you need at every moment in your life. If you need a shoulder to cry on, a celebratory high-five or hug, an advice or even someone to call you on your BS, they will certainly do that for you without you even asking.

2. A true friend keeps you grounded.

Once you decide to start your own company, you might recruit a true friend or 2 and other strangers to work with you. The whole startup game means that you might grow exponentially quickly which might make you rich and powerful somehow rapidly. And as our friend Kendrick Lamar says: “B*tch, be humble”. Sure, you started something from scratch and made a terrific job by growing and scaling it which made it highly profitable, but, just be humble about it.

Having a true friend at your company will be a great reminder of where you come from. That this new rich tech guy used to be the shy geek in high school. That no money in the world is going to erase that DUI from your record. That even though you’re getting a ton of matches on dating apps, you couldn’t even get a text back from your mom a few months ago. Your friend’s mere presence in the office will remind you that you’ve come a long way and thanks to a bunch of people and events that helped shape your career.

3. A true friend is authentic.

This person will always talk positively about you to others. If someone is talking sh*t about you, they will come to your defense. But, they will then come to you and call you out on your sh*t in private because they not only want to celebrate your strengths, they also want you to work on your weaknesses so you become a better person. They will tell you the truth ┬áin the best way you’re able to handle it.

4. A true friend is in it for the long-run.

You can imagine you guys being friends forever, as cheesy as it sounds. And, not only that, you can imagine this person being a key member of your company for ages. They have to be aware of the whole list of hardships that accompany the entrepreneurial journey, and if after knowing this, they are still 100% in…you’ve found yourself an amazing friend and an awesome employee/co-founder/team member/cheerleader.

5. A true friend wants to see you grow.

First of all, your true friend accepts you just the way you are and wants you to be not only a great professional but also a great person in all the areas of your life. They believe in you unconditionally; no matter what the current situation of your life or your business is they will always think that you’ll make it big and support you in every way possible. Honesty goes a long way for this, so you both will be transparent with each other. And, you will help them grow as well. Reciprocity is also really important. Make sure that what you give and get back is equally proportional.