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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


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