One of the great things about The Office is that while it revolves around the workplace and coworker dynamics, there is so much in there about friendship—or, more often, attempts at friendship. Dwight wants to be friends with Michael, Michael wants to be friends with Jim. Erin wants to be BFF with Kelly, Kelly wants to be more than friends with Ryan. You get the picture.
One of my favorite exchanges takes place in an episode called “The Return,” when Andy’s basically trying to bromance Michael, his boss.
Michael announces he is leaving the office to run a quick errand.
Andy: Wait up. Where are you going? Do you want me to come with?
Andy: Just listen, I forgot to tell you the plan for this Saturday. You, me, bars, beers, buzzed. Wings. Shots. Drunk. Waitresses, hot. Football – Cornell/Hofstra. Slaughter. Then a quick nap at my place and we’ll hit the tiz-own.
Michael: No. I don’t want to do any of that.
Andy: Duh. Which is why I was just joking about doing that.
Michael: No, just stop. Stop. Stop doing it. You’re going to drive me crazy.
Andy: Fine. I’ll just sit at my desk and be quiet. Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship.
Ed Helms’ delivery of that last line is just perfect, and if I could find a clip I would stream it here. I watched the episode the other day while I was on the treadmill and it was one of those moments I had to jump to the sides of the machine because apparently I do not have the coordination to run and laugh simultaneously. (Um, it’s hard.)
But Andy’s overzealous friending is no joke. Let me tell you: This is real. There is a very fine line between being all cute and friendly and “I’ve got a girl crush on you!” and being creepy and weird and “Let’s be BFFAEAE, I’ve already planned our first girlfriend’s getaway and my mom wants to have you over to watch Grey’s with us next week.”
When you’re in the process of wooing friends, you must be eternally mindful of staying on the correct side of this line.
Even when you’re the one looking for BFFs, there are moments when another person’s enthusiasm about the friendship potential can almost seem Andy Bernard levels of aggressive. Which in itself is strange because aren’t you the one out there picking up girls?
Like I said, it’s a tightrope walk.
Have you ever caught yourself on the wrong side of the charming-annoying boundary? What did you do? I once went on a friend-date and tried to quell an awkward moment by announcing that we would hug goodbye. That didn’t make it more uncomfortable or anything.
And how do you handle it when someone else’s friendship advances are a bit too aggressive for you? Is there a correct way to say “No thank you I’m not interested in being pals?” What do you say to your own Andy Bernard when she annoys you with her friendship?