Putting the ‘ugly best friend’ line into professional context

Working in a communications agency, maintaining a good client relationship is very important.

With a new HR woman starting at work a few months ago – I decided to demonstrate to her how good my interpersonal skills were.

The perfect opportunity arose on Friday. It was the first proper hot day of the year, and instead of buying lunch and sitting on the canal, as I often do, I instead brought out my office desk chair and set it up outside the front door of the office, joining some friends who had done likewise.

Once I’d eaten, I rolled my sleeves up to my shoulders, and unbuttoned my shirt to my waist, and sunk down into my chair, much like I do inside the office.

The HR woman came out for a cigarette. I’m always intrigued by people who work in HR and careers counselling – do they decide at an early age that it’s the right job from them?

If so, by what criteria do they decide this? If they more like sorta just became an HR person, then why should anyone listen to their advice about career development?

In any case, this young woman is very friendly, outgoing, and far from the timid little mouse we had before. She’s also sporty, and probably has the physical strength that’s required to keep our agency’s revolving door turning continuously in the fashion it always has.

I engaged in conversation. The obvious line was to ask her where she was living. “Was she looking for a place in central Paris?” I asked, as I am in need of two new roommates by September.

She responded that she was looking, though didn’t acknowledge my generous offer, which I took to be a rebuke.

She continued, “but if you’re looking, I have several friends who are also wanting rooms in shared apartments.”

It’s never to early to vet potential roomies. “Are they good-looking?” I asked, a standard, and important, follow-up question.

“Oh shit yeah!” she said. “My friends are really good-looking.”

“So that would make you their ugly best friend?” I inquired, explaining that every good-looking girl always has an ugly best friend.

To her credit she laughed it off, leaving me to ponder alone why – given my stellar relationship skills –  my 2 room-mates are abandoning me.


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