Skip to main content

How to make friends or alienate people in an English office...

...A lot can happen over a cup of coffee.

Before I go any further, I should mention that the title of this post was my friend David Wadieh's idea.

Coffee and tea are indispensible when it comes to offices. And in English offices especially, getting tea or coffee is an elaborate ritual. If you are going to work for an English office for the first time, this post may actually be a life-saver for you because I’ve tried to break the ritual down to three short and simple steps with clear guidelines of what to do depending upon whether you want to make friends or alienate people:

1) Ask people whether they'll like tea or coffee
      To make friends - Ask everyone. Even go to the remotest end of the office to ask that grumpy dude you never talk to.

      To alienate people - Don't ask that girl who always refuses anyways. This will be the one time she simply needed that cup of coffee.

2) If you do not already know how they like their tea or coffee, ask them.

      To make friends – If this is the first time you are doing this and need to ask them, pretend that you feel quite stupid about not being able to magically sense it.

      To alienate people – Pretend that it’s perfectly alright if you have to ask them how they like it / Forget their preferences mid-way and make 100 trips back and forth to confirm and re-confirm

      Tip: It's better to keep a notepad and pen with you at this step

3) Then go to the kitchen all alone, make the tea or coffee as per the individual preferences and make the 11982 trips from the kitchen to their work areas to deliver their beverages

      To make friends: GET IT ALL RIGHT!

      To alienate people: Put normal milk instead of Soya for the lactose intolerant / for the dude who likes his tea with the tea-bag still in it, drain and throw the tea bag / deliver a cold beverage to the last person you are delivering to / add one and a half tea spoon sugar for someone who likes it with one tea spoon / forget someone altogether

And then depending upon the choices you’ve made through the ritual, settle down to work surrounded by radiating friendliness of all your new-found friends or stare into your computer uncomfortably aware of the cold daggers being hurled at you by the blood-thirsty eyes of the person or people you’ve managed to alienate. Good Luck!


  1. Good one !!!!! Never thought people can have so many thoughts when they are asking for a cup of cofee...Guess coming right from the office ..But gal hats off to you , what a analysis on people , process and the art of asking for tea / cofee :-)

  2. It is so different from Indian offices that I couldn't help but notice.

  3. That's hilarious and insightful too :-) Nice take


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

10 Tips for Writing a Good Travel Post

Many of us have read travelogues by Bill Bryson ('Down Under' about Australia is my personal favorite) and William Dalrymple ('The City of Djinns' about Delhi has won a million Indian hearts). No doubt these are extremely well written and very well-researched travelogues. I love Bill Bryson's wit as much as I appreciate William Dalrymple's depth. But this article is not about them. This blog post is about those short travel posts that appear on various blogs adding to a wealth of authentic information available about travel destinations worldwide. I have come to trust these blog posts more than I trust travel agents, 'Places to see' posts on tourism websites, and, I am sorry to say, even the painstakingly compiled travel guides published by reputable travel companies. How many times have you visited a place at a popular tourist destination and been completely disappointed by it? Or you have missed going to a beautiful, 'must visit' place because

Book Review : "The Moonsmith Gulzar" by Shailja Chandra

The Moonsmith Gulzar: orbiting the celebrated words by Shailja Chandra My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have always been fascinated by how accessible Gulzar's poetry seems to be and yet there are layers and layers to unravel before you can begin to understand it. Shailja Chandra's "The Moonsmith Gulzar" inspired me to initiate my own inquiry as a scholar of poetry. The "simplicity" of language in Gulzar's nazms can be very deceptive. And one needs either years of focused study or a mentor to structure one's research. And just like Chandra looks at Gulzar as a mentor to decrypt the mysteries of the Cosmos, I look up to Chandra as my mentor to start my own inquiry into Gulzar's poetry. The word "Moonsmith" would literally mean someone who creates new entities from the Moon. Or it may mean someone who shapes the Moon. So who is it? Who motivates the Moon to change its shape? That is the "Moonsmith". That is the Sun. That is Gulzar.

Poem - I am your past

  I am your past, not the kind that hits you with a blast of wistful nostalgia when you dip the coconut cookie into a sweet sea of chai - your mamma's way, you realise, has become yours now. I don't bring an unexpected smile to you with the memory of a silly antic, a stupid joke. I am not that clown of a friend, the one of whom no one remembers much, except the jokes. I won't cradle you with the memories of a love cherished, though unowned, one that lingered, till it finally faded. And then nothing could bring it back, not even the warmth that being loved so fills you with.  You keep me locked in nested boxes. You know that I am not a threat because pasts can't hurt, at least not in any tangible way. You fear me, yet keep me close and when you feel inadequate, you peek at me with a smug smile. But, I came at a cost. First published on Red Fez  in May 2022