How We Went From Work Wives To IRL Friends For Life

by Aimée Grant Cumberbatch

Most of us have been fortunate enough to have a work wife. They’re there to lighten the load when your to-do list is longer than your arm, meet you in the kitchen for a tea-brief after a particularly difficult chat with your manager, and save you from office-based boredom with their spot on post-meeting analysis.

But though many of us will have shared that special bond, usually a new job is enough to relegate the friendship to the status of promises to “have a drink soon” that are never fulfilled. It’s much rarer to find a work wife who becomes a friend IRL. But that’s just what happened to Charlie Mock and Lauren Webb, who met four years ago while working in PR in London.

Together with Maltesers we’re celebrating Charlie and Lauren’s music-fuelled friendship. Here, they explain how a shared love of bad true crime docs and boy bands helped cement their friendship, and what makes it so special.

How did you meet?

Charlie: I went from a really great internship I loved to a more high pressure job, which I found quite difficult, but it was the job where I met Lauren which was the silver lining of the stress.I sent her a certain folder of gifs and from that moment on, we knew we were destined to be friends.

Lauren: That's a nice undercurrent of our friendship. It’s not just built on the fact we were stuffed in a room together at work, but the fact that we enjoyed the same things. You know when you meet someone whether you're going to get on with them. The gif folder sped things up, but I think we would have eventually become friends anyway.

C: If we'd both followed these career paths, we would have ended up friends somehow.

"80% of the time, we mess about which is nice because you need that. But we also know when it's time to talk about real things."

Why do you think your friendship works?

C: We know when to take each other seriously. Probably 80% of the time, we mess about which is nice because you need that. But we also know when it's time to talk about real things and have an adult conversation.

L: Yeah. Being a twenty-four or twenty-five year-old girl, just all the stuff you would expect us to take the mickey out of we do. What I value most is, although we have a lot in common, our method of dealing with things is quite different. I go to Charlie for advice I don't always want to hear but I need to hear.

C: We balance each other out.

What do you enjoy doing together?

C: We watch true crime docs. A lot of stuff on Youtube.

L: Basically Charlie, her boyfriend, and I like to get together on the sofa and watch terrible documentaries.

C: Really bad ones as well.

L: [We also share] a lot of pop culture stuff. A lot of true crime podcasts and book recommendations. Oh and pop music generally.

C: We love going to gigs together.

What do you think makes your friendship unique?

L: Your work friends often see a side to you other friends don't because these are some of the most turbulent years of your life. If you don't have someone to laugh about it with at the end of the day, then you're a bit stuck.

C: Meeting at work means the person sees you quite often at the absolute pits of your day. Being exposed to the extreme level of someone's emotions so early changes how the friendship grows.

"We never really have to say 'hi', or 'bye' because we’re always talking."

How often do you talk?

C: We’re almost always in constant contact which is quite a significant part of our relationship.

L: Because I work in a job where I've constantly got to be talking to people, I find it quite stressful to keep up with text messages. So there’s very few people I can always come back to but Charlie's one of them.

C: We never really have to say “hi”, or “bye” because we’re always talking.

What do you think a good healthy friendship should be?

C: Being as honest as you can with someone is always going to mean whenever you're talking, you're able to share and understand things in a better way.

L: Honesty, fun, and shamelessness as well. Not being afraid to show the ugliest, strangest, weirdest parts of yourselves. That's when you know you've got a good solid friend for life, if you do something extremely weird, like get very into conspiracy theories, and they're still your friend.

C: When you can see each other in the most compromising situations and still don't think any less of that person.

L: Respect as well. I massively respect where Charlie's got to considering she's younger than me. I take her opinion and thoughts on board. She's got a very good stable outlook on life. She's killing it in her job, in her home, in her relationship, in her clothes.

C: Well ditto. Not many people look after the clients Lauren looks after at age 25 — that's quite a feat.

Why do you think friendships are so important to women?

C: Because if we haven't got each other then who else have we got?

L: For women specifically, it's the fact that so many other aspects of life can be difficult. When you've got someone who goes through everything you do at some point in their life. It's just unity, isn't it? A nod between each other like “You're a woman, so you get it.”

Photographer: Ruth Rose // Art Direction: Shelley Dobson // Makeup: Lauren Griffin // Makeup Assistant: Ellen Bolger // Hair: George Curran // Production: Julia Merenda / Lucy Haller

This post is in paid partnership with Maltesers